KUALA LUMPUR: The introduction of syariah saving by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has received overwhelming support from its contributors.
Lines were formed as early as 8am at its headquarters in Jalan Raja Laut here yesterday as well as many other EPF counters nationwide as contributors, both Muslims and non-Muslims, came to register for the new option.
EPF chief executive officer Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said the syariah saving was a new syariah-compliant savings option for its contributors.
“We are now offering a choice for members to choose between a conventional product and a syariah-compliant product,” said Shahril, adding that the new option was a result of three years of planning and was based on the feedback from contributors.
“We are encouraged by the reception so far. Within the first 30 minutes of the registration being opened, we signed up over 5,000 contributors nationwide.”
Those interested in switching to the new product must register before Dec 23 this year to meet the cut-off for 2017.
EPF has allocated RM100bil for syariah saving. He said the registration for the new product was open for both Muslims and non-Muslims.
One of the first contributors to register for the new product was Ernst and Young Advisory Services executive director Christina Yeow who said she opted for the new option due to the ethical aspect of syariah-compliant savings.
“They (syariah-compliant savings) don’t go into weapons and other things that are not ethical. I also believe that the returns will be as good as conventional, if not better,” she said.
Radziah Abd Latiff said the switch was easy to make, taking her only a couple of minutes.
“I feel it’s good to seize the chance to register for this syariah-compliant product as it is more Islamic,” said the executive officer.
Contributors who wish to switch from conventional to Simpanan Shariah are required to go to any EPF branch in the country with their MyKad for thumbprint verification.
Foreign nationals are required to produce their passports for verification.
In George Town, the state EPF office had to be opened half an hour earlier than usual because of the huge crowd waiting outside.
Its deputy chief executive officer (Investment) Datuk Mohamed Nasir Ab Latif said within less than an hour, more than 200 people registered for the new product.
“Based on the response today, I am confident that the RM100bil fund will be taken up very fast,” he said yesterday.
In Johor Baru, chemical plant technician Muhamad Hisham Sabrawi, 30, chose to change as he wanted his contribution to be used only to invest in halal industries. He was among hundreds of early birds who registered for the Simpanan Shariah at Bangunan KWSP in Jalan Dato’ Dalam yesterday.
Financial assistant Emma Nur Suehailah Alaziz, 32, hoped that EPF would consider increasing the fund in the future from the initial RM100bil allocated for the account.
She said EPF should include medical, pharmaceutical, food-based activities, transportation and healthcare sectors as they were recession-proof sectors.