Do housewives work for husbands? Minister questions Pakatan’s EPF pledge

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the pledge by Pakatan Harapan was unreasonable. — Picture by Yusof Mat IsaDatuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the pledge by Pakatan Harapan was unreasonable. — Picture by Yusof Mat IsaKUALA LUMPUR, March 10 — An Umno MP today questioned if Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) promise to open up the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to housewives meant that they are to be considered employees of their husbands.

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, also an Umno supreme council member and Rural and Regional Development Minister, said the pledge by the federal Opposition, should it win the 14th general elections (GE14), was unreasonable.

“Does it mean that the wife is an employee of the husband to the point that contributions need to be paid? If need to pay, how should the contribution amount be determined?

“To pay contribution, we need to have a wage value. How should the salary of a housewife be determined?” the Bera MP was reported saying by local daily Utusan Malaysia.

In its election manifesto launched Thursday, PH had pledged to allow housewives to have an EPF account within 100 days of it taking over Putrajaya.

PH said it would, as the federal government, contribute RM50 per month for each housewife as a sign of appreciation, while two per cent would be taken from the EPF contributions of the housewives’ working husbands.

In a separate Utusan Malaysia report, Barisan Nasional women’s wing chief Tan Sri Shahrizat Jalil similarly asked if PH considered housewives to be their husbands’ employees, adding that the ruling coalition’s women wing felt such a promise reduces a wife’s status in comparison to the husband.

She also questioned if the federal Opposition had considered the potential income tax that housewives may have to bear when receiving the EPF contributions, as EPF account holders have to have a stated income amount.

The GE14 must be held by this August, but can be called earlier.