Fatimah (left) speaks at a press conference on i-Suri as Halim looks on. Photo: Ramidi Subari

KUCHING: The Sarawak government has agreed in principle to pump in an additional RM60 credit into the account of Suri Voluntary Incentive Scheme (i-Suri) members who are Sarawakians.

Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah told a press conference this after receiving a courtesy call from Sarawak EPF director Halim Boweng on i-Suri programme at her office in Baitulmakmur building here on Monday (July 6).

“However, the decision has yet to be finalised as it has to be brought to the state Cabinet,” she said.

She added a mechanism would be established to ensure that the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) inform the ministry who would be eligible for the RM60 assistance.

With the initiative in progress, Sarawak will become the first state in Malaysia to introduce such assistance and support to the i-Suri programme which ensures the wellbeing of housewives and female breadwinners.

Fatimah pointed out that under the i-Suri programme, the federal government had already contributed a special yearly incentive of up to RM480 to every account holder.

Besides that, i-Suri members enjoy benefits like other EPF members.

Future benefits and privileges that they enjoy are yearly dividends, annual dividends on their retirement savings, withdrawals of EPF savings, death benefit worth RM2,500 and incapacitation benefit worth RM5,000.

Those eligible to apply for the i-Suri programme are Malaysian housewives or female heads of households registered in the National Database on Poverty (eKasih), below 60 years of age and must contribute a minimum of RM5 per month or RM60 per annum into the EPF account.

Fatimah also revealed that in Sarawak, there were 66,120 eKasih registrations as of November last year. Of these, 25,813 women had registered for the i-Suri programme while 37,784 had not.

“If a person has registered for i-Suri before June this year, the payment will be done starting this month. Those who register from July onwards will be receiving the contribution by February next year,” she added.

She urged those who had not yet registered for eKasih to do so at the district offices so that they would not miss out on the i-Suri programme.

The 2016 poverty line guidelines define the urban poor in Sarawak as those with household income of RM1070 or less while the rural poor are those with income of RM940 and below.

Also present at the press conference were Sarawak EPF director Halim Boweng and Women and Family Sarawak Department director Noriah Ahmad.