PETALING JAYA, May 31 – With a full lockdown set for tomorrow with most activities to be shut down save for the essential services, it was not a surprise that many had turned up to do some last minute withdrawals, registering for i akaun and nomination of beneficiaries at the Petaling Jaya Employees Provident Fund (EPF) office at 2pm today.
It turned out that the surprise was on them. The doors were closed and a guard posted at the door had to turn away many people, saying that the office was already closed and they would have to come back 14 days later to do any activities that would require being at the counter.
When asked why the counters closed at 2pm when a EPF website said the office was opened till 4.30pm, the guard pointed them to a poster on the glass doors that announced the new changes in closing timing at 2pm effective May 25.
This did not go down too well with many of those who had travelled up quite a bit from different parts of Petaling to do their EPF transactions.
Many also complained that the information on the website showed that the office was open until 4.30 pm. They had checked before coming and knew nothing of the new changes in office time. They wanted to carry out their transactions before the lockdown tomorrow on June 1st.
Most of them said they were unaware of the new timings and did not see its announcement anywhere else.
One lady who had an appointment for a withdrawal, showed her letter of appointment for the day, adding that nowhere in the letter it had indicated that the office will closed by 2pm. Her appointment was at 1.50pm.
Lim (not his real name) complained that he had checked before coming and that the information should have been on the website that they will close office at 2pm.
After much pleading from the irate members, a senior officer, Yazid, emerged from the office and tried his best to calm down the annoyed group and said he would look at each one’s case but also admitted that he may not be able to help much as the counters were closed for the day.
Some were advised to do their transactions on line and received some help with this. But many were also told to return two weeks later.
Unfortunately, those who wanted to access the kiosks just to register for i akaun were also told that they would have to go to the headquarters in Kuala Lumpur as all their kiosks were within the office and not outside.
As for one member, who wanted to do some nomination, the officer said nomination was not critical and that it could be done even later.
The member replied: “It is critical, anyone can die within two weeks and this is an urgent matter. Also if we do not nominate, where will the money go. Also, what should we do if the MCO period is extended?”
Asked on the 2pm closure, Yazid said the information was distributed in the media.
Perhaps the EPF should consider blasting short service messages to all its members to inform them of any changes in its service timings, and it should also regularly update the websites that carry information on its opening and closing hours.
“Considering that it is one of the most richest public funds body, it should be able to afford sending a SMS to all its members, especially during the erratic times we are all living in at the moment, where uncertainty is almost the rule of the day,” one member suggested.