KUALA LUMPUR: The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) expects 2020 to be just as or even more challenging than 2019, with the full impact of the COVID-19 virus likely to drag down already soft global growth, EPF chief officer Alizakri Alias said.
The US-China trade war still sees no signs of ending, among other risks to economic recovery.
“We hope that the domestic markets will be resilient, especially in light of the soon-to-be-announced government stimulus package which should help support investor and consumer sentiment,” he said in a statement to announce EPF’s dividend for both Simpanan Konvensional and Simpanan Shariah.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is set to announce the economic stimulus package on Feb 27, 2020, to mitigate the adverse external economic impacts brought about by COVID-19.
In Malaysia, 22 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19, which originated in Wuhan, China.
Out of the total, only five are still being treated, while the other 17 have fully recovered and returned home.
At the time of this report, there are 77,661 cases recorded worldwide with 2,360 deaths while 20,976 people have recovered. Out of the total cases, 76,290 are in China.
However, Alizakri assured EPF’s 14.6 million members, who encompass five generations of the Malaysian workforce, that the fund recognises the increasing pressures of the new decade.
“For 2020 and the years ahead, we will continue to focus on delivering not only financial dividends, but also on our obligation to provide social dividends for our members.
“We want our members to be empowered with the knowledge and tools to enable them to live more fulfilling lives while pursuing a better future,” he said.
EPF has declared a dividend of 5.45 per cent for Simpanan Konvensional and 5 per cent for Simpanan Shariah, which involves a pay-out of RM41.68 billion and RM4.14 billion, respectively.
The EPF’s overall investment assets stood at RM924.75 billion as of Dec 31, 2019, of which 37 per cent was invested in the Shariah portfolio and 63 per cent in the Konvensional portfolio. Returns from the entire Konvensional portfolio and part of the Shariah portfolio are attributable to Simpanan Konvensional.
For 2019, the EPF reported a gross investment income of RM50.29 billion, with two-thirds coming from stable interest and dividend streams, of which RM45.82 billion was attributed to Simpanan Konvensional.