Date: 04 Jun 2024
YAB Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim Officiates EPF’s International Social Wellbeing Conference 2024

KWASA DAMANSARA, 4 June 2024: YAB Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Seri Anwar Bin Ibrahim, today officiated the 11th International Social Wellbeing Conference 2024 (ISWC 2024) in the presence of EPF Chairman Tan Sri Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir, Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Zulqarnain Onn, Cabinet Ministers, senior government officials, and members of the EPF Board and Investment Panel.

Themed “Ageing and Longevity: Towards a Meaningful Retirement”, this annual two-day conference focuses on the challenges and solutions related to ageing and retirement, as well as pension and retirement reform. The topics include income security, mental well-being, and healthier lifestyles for the elderly. Jointly organised by the EPF, the Ministry of Finance (MOF), the Implementation Coordination Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department (ICU JPM), the International Social Security Association (ISSA) and the ASEAN Social Security Association (ASSA), this conference brings together over 800 delegates in attendance and 1,000 virtual participants, 19 partners, and 25 speakers of world-class thinkers and experts.

EPF Chairman Tan Sri Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir said, “The ISWC 2024 is a step towards creating a better social protection system and society for all as Malaysia rapidly transitions into an aged nation. The importance of building a comprehensive and sustainable social protection system has never been more urgent. Investing in social protection systems is crucial for the overall well-being of our society and it is our collective responsibility to ensure that no one is left behind.”

“This year, we aim to discuss the many issues and challenges surrounding ageing and retirement, with special attention given to ensuring retirement income security. The EPF recognises that a holistic approach is essential to address the diverse needs of all segments of the population. Such reforms would not only strengthen the existing system but also ensure greater inclusivity and security for our citizens,” he added.

In recent years, the ISWC has evolved from a technical forum for discussing ideas and concepts into a pivotal platform focusing on innovative solutions and actionable plans. It now serves as a launch pad for fostering collaboration and partnerships across all community segments. 

In choosing the theme, the EPF aims to highlight the rapid ageing phenomenon happening across the globe. As a result of increased life expectancy and declining birth rates, Malaysia is projected to become an aged nation by 2043, with 14% of the population above age 65. By 2060, there will be three (3) working-age adults for every elderly person, a significant decrease from 10 working-age adults for every older adult in 2020.

Tan Sri Ahmad Badri said while living longer is a testament to progress, the demographic shift will also present challenges to the Malaysian society, particularly in the areas of healthcare, aged-care facilities, and retirement income security.

“A major challenge is the shifting employment landscape in the country, which is increasingly moving towards informal employment through gig work and self-employment. This growing segment, consisting of nearly four million workers, is at a greater risk of poverty in old-age due to the lack of mandatory contributions to formal pension and retirement programmes,” he said. He added that to address some of these challenges, the Government has aided and boosted the retirement savings of the informal sector through i-Saraan, encouraging voluntary contributions to the EPF.

In line with the Ekonomi MADANI goal of expanding social protection to all, the EPF is exploring further innovations to the EPF scheme to better accommodate the informal sector. One of the recent measures was the restructuring of the EPF accounts for members below 55 years old, which provides greater flexibility for all members. This approach allows them to save for retirement while having access to liquid savings for unexpected emergencies.

Among the speakers at this year’s conference include Dr. Amjad Rabi, visiting expert at the Social Wellbeing Research Centre of University of Malaya; Datuk Shalin Zulkifli, Malaysian professional tenpin bowler; Clare Davenport, founder of Designing4Better; Anu Partanen, author of “The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life”; Robert Reich, former US Secretary of Labour and author of “Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few”; and William Price, Chief Executive Officer of D3P Global.   

In addition to the main event, ISWC 2024 offers attendees a range of attractions and a seamless experience, including gamifications, speed networking, EPF kiosks and booths hosted by conference partners, including Amundi Asset Management, Bank Simpanan Nasional, CGS International, FWD, J.P. Morgan, Nomura Asset Management and Principal Asset Management.

Issued by the EPF Media Desk 
Corporate Affairs Department
4 June 2024

About the Employees Provident Fund (EPF)
The Employees Provident Fund®(EPF®) is Malaysia’s premier retirement savings fund, helping its members achieve adequate savings for a comfortable retirement. This is in line with EPF’s vision to help members achieve a better future and its mission to safeguard members’ savings and deliver excellent services. The EPF has evolved significantly from a transaction-centric to a professional fund management organisation with a strong focus on retirement security. The EPF is guided by a robust and professional governance framework when making investment decisions. It continues to play a catalytic role in the nation’s economic growth and seeks to cultivate a savings and investment culture among its members to improve the country’s financial literacy level.