Date: 23 Nov 2021
International Social Wellbeing Conference 2021 Discusses Turning Tide On Inequality

KUALA LUMPUR, 23 November 2021: The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) opens the 9th International Social Wellbeing Conference 2021 (ISWC 2021) today, with the opening address delivered by Prime Minister Y.A.B. Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri Yaakob. 

Present at the event were Minister of Finance Y.B. Senator Tengku Datuk Seri Utama Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, EPF Chairman Y.Bhg. Tan Sri Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir, EPF Chief Executive Officer Y.Bhg. Datuk Seri Amir Hamzah Azizan, EPF Senior Management, and renowned local and international speakers sharing insights on this year’s theme ‘The New Narrative: Turning the Tide on Inequality’.

In his speech, Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri said since the COVID-19 struck, social protection systems – including social assistance, social insurance and labour market policies – can act as automatic stabilisers during a crisis as well as essential safety nets for poor and vulnerable citizens. 

“The 12th Malaysian Plan’s focus on Rakyat’s welfare, social protection and people-centred projects in light of COVID-19, aims to rejuvenate Malaysia’s socio-economic development for long-term sustainability and prosperity as the foundation in improving the wellbeing of the Rakyat.

“The Government remains committed to eradicate poverty through greater collaboration within government agencies and statutory bodies. Policymakers must recognise the role of social protection in promoting social wellbeing by crafting effective policies that consider voices of the Rakyat. New and innovative social protection solutions are urgently required. It is to strike a balance between the provision of safety nets, promote financial resilience and human capital development.

“It is hoped that the ISWC 2021 can be a useful platform for fruitful exchanges of constructive ideas, knowledge, and best practices regarding the social protection ecosystems,” said Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri.

In his address on inequality in social protection, EPF Chief Executive Officer Datuk Seri Amir Hamzah Azizan, said one of the most worrying concerns exposed by the pandemic is the intensified issue of inequality.

“The issue of inequality has been festering well before the pandemic. While many nations have tried to stem the COVID-19 impact through intensive and short-term mobilisation of resources, these initiatives can only be temporary fixes, and not long term solutions that are able to protect the lives and livelihood of the people.

“Therefore, this year’s ISWC has been scaled up as fellow organisers, comprising the country’s powerhouses, convened with an impressive line-up of speakers, to delve deeper into the issues of inequalities and its many different facets that include economic, healthcare, and education inequalities,” Datuk Seri Amir Hamzah added.

The ISWC 2021 is jointly organised by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), the Ministry of Finance, the Implementation Coordination Unit under Prime Minister’s Office, and the International Social Security Association (ISSA). Conference partners include BNP Paribas Asset Management, BNY Mellon, FWD Takaful Bhd, Maybank, and CIMB. The two-day conference will be closed tomorrow by Y.B. Tengku Datuk Seri Utama Zafrul.

Participants of the conference include the country’s policy makers, ministries, agencies, and stakeholders from various backgrounds, and members of the public. 

Among the speakers at this year’s conference are Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz, a 2021 winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics; Mariana Mazzucato, author of Mission Economy; Nick Vujicic, Nadiah Wan, Chief Executive Officer of Thomson Hospital Kota Damansara, New York Times Best-selling Author; Cheryl Goh, Group Vice-President of Marketing of GRAB; Sumitra Visvanathan, Executive Director at Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO); and Dato’ Dr Anas Alam Faizli, Chief Executive Officer of ProtectHealth.

Other attractions to the ISWC 2021 include virtual booths from all conference partners - BNP Paribas Asset Management, BNY Mellon, FWD Takaful Bhd, Maybank, CIMB – and from ProtectHealth, Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM), Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), EPF’s Retirement Advisory Service (RAS), and Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK).

Issued by the EPF Media Desk
Corporate Affairs Department
23 November 2021

About the Employees Provident Fund (EPF)

The Employees Provident Fund (“EPF”) is one of the oldest retirement funds in the world. Established in 1951, the EPF is a social-security organisation focused on safeguarding member savings and delivering excellent services. In recent years, in line with its vision of helping members achieve a better future, the EPF has expanded its role to encompass the creation of a comprehensive social well-being ecosystem. Today, the EPF remains steadfast in its commitment to members through consistent efforts to update and improve itself, in order to build the foundation for sustainable, holistic and equitable well-being for all Malaysians