Former prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob today mocked the RM500 aid allocation for Employees Provident Fund (EPF) members announced in the new budget for 2023 tabled in the Dewan Rakyat last month.
Describing the effort as “noble”, he nevertheless said that the effects of the aid would only be felt years later.
Speaking in his debate on the Supply Bill 2023, he said the people, especially those affected by the recent floods, were in need of assistance now.
“Their homes are about to be auctioned off, their children are going to university.
“They need money now, not 10 or 15 years down the line,” he added.
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who also holds the finance portfolio, said the RM500 would be added to the accounts of those who have savings of less than RM10,000.
The aid, involving a total allocation of RM1 billion, is expected to be given to nearly two million EPF members aged 40 to 54.
Ismail, the Bera MP, also reiterated the call for the government to allow targeted withdrawals from the EPF.
On the luxury tax introduced in the budget, he said it could affect tourism revenue.
“As much as 30% of the RM86.1 billion in national tourism income in 2019 came from the shopping activities of foreign tourists.
“Malaysia is a shopping haven for foreign tourists. Implementing this tax will drive them to other neighbouring countries,” he said.