The much-anticipated SURI Incentive Programme which enables housewives to gain access to quality social security and enhanced income security will start next week, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said today.
To be implemented in three phases, Dr Wan Azizah announced the first phase would start on Aug 15. It means SURI members could save a minimum of RM5 monthly in their Employees Provident Fund (EPF) account, and the government would then contribute RM40 monthly.
“As a start, the target group for Phase One consists of housewives to the head of household. Targeted heads of households are married men (for their respective wives), single mothers and widows registered with e-Kasih.
“The government is keen to ensure the well-being of the people. However, every citizen should also show the determination to raise their standard of living. A minimum contribution of RM5 per month in this programme represents that commitment from the people and, at the same time, inculcates the nature of saving for their future,” said Dr Wan Azizah, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister.
In her keynote address at the EPF International Social Security Conference 2018, Dr Wan Azizah said the government contribution would be raised to RM50 under Phase Two of the incentive, where a sum of RM10 would be disbursed for protection under the Social Security Organisation (Socso).
Dr Wan Azizah said protection under Socso was currently not extended to housewives and, as such, there was a need to make the necessary legislative changes to make it possible for the launch of Phase Two of the programme early next year.
She said the programme would then progress to Phase Three where two per cent of the husband’s EPF contribution would go into their housewives’ account.
“To arrive at this Phase Three will take some time as this will require amendments to be made to the EPF Act 1991. We are still exploring the various options for this, taking into consideration several financial and non-financial factors,” she said, adding that the government hoped to be able to launch the phase in early 2020.
She said the incentive was part of the Pakatan Harapan ‘10 Promises in 100 Days’ and the government managed to fulfil the promise within the period.
Dr Wan Azizah said that through the strategic partnership with EPF and Socso, the government hoped to see more women in the country receive the social protection and income security that they deserved and ensure that they were able to live with dignity throughout their golden years.
“What is crucial is to learn from past mistakes and introduce effective policies that respond to economic conditions, addressing not only vulnerabilities caused by current conditions but also to strengthen preparedness for the future,” she said.