KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 14 — Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the coalition would never suggest another round of Employee Provident Fund (EPF) withdrawal to entice voters, as proposed his Perikatan Nasional (PN) counterpart Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin recently.

Zahid said using people’s savings as political capital and a tool to attract votes was an act of dishonesty.

“If another EPF withdrawal is required in the future, it must be for an honest reason,” he said in a statement today.

Zahid then compared one-off EPF withdrawals with BN’s “Assistive Basic Income” scheme as outlined in its election manifesto.

Under the scheme, the BN government, should it be elected to power on November 19, will provide credit to households with an income below RM2,208.

“‘Assistive Basic Income’ is long-term compared to the provision of another ‘one-off’ EPF withdrawal,” he said.

Zahid admitted that while it was true that BN pushed for Malaysians to be allowed to withdraw their EPF savings previously, he said the call was justified at the time as it was a matter of urgency.

He took a pot shot at his rivals, saying this had coincided with lost jobs and income due to the then PN government subjecting the country to the world’s longest movement control order (MCO).

“While the people had to raise the ‘white flag’ due to the failed administration of Prime Minister Abah for 17 months, BN is not tempted to attract people’s votes by using their own money,” he said, using a common moniker for Muhyiddin.

When launching its manifesto on Nov 6, Muhyiddin said that PN would consider another round of EPF withdrawal, as there had been many requests.

He said the scheme would be implemented in a targeted manner and take into consideration whether account holders have sufficient funds for their retirement.