On Saturday, 21 December, a Facebook post went viral after it detailed how a 56-year-old bedridden stage 4 cancer patient was forced to physically go to the Johor Bahru office of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) in order for her to withdraw the balance from her account
According to the Facebook post by the patient's sister, Nur Sheila Abdullah, the stage 4 cancer patient was told that before she could withdraw the balance from her EPF account, she had to be present at the Johor Bahru EPF office in person for a thumbprint scan.
"My brother and I asked the information counter at the Johor Bahru EPF office for help as we had a sister who was bedridden because of cancer," Nur Sheila wrote.
"So we asked the EPF's goodwill staff to visit the home for manual fingerprints and contributors' confirmation. His response was rather sad. He said no. Contributors must present themselves at the office for fingerprint verification using their machines."
Nur Sheila added that the officer insisted that her sister had to come in person to the EPF office, saying, "It doesn't matter if she came by ambulance or a stretcher, as long she's able to make it here."
So they escorted their sister to the EPF office in an ambulance
However, once at the Johor Bahru EPF office, they realised that the office had no parking lot for the ambulance or a room for disabled people to be there.
"We had difficulty finding a location for the ambulance to drop my sister off and we were told to use the back entrance so we would not block the front of the building," she wrote.
"The ambulance driver was in a hurry. Finally, an officer came in to handle the ambulance and ordered to push the stretcher into the counter. The sad thing for me is that, only after my sister had her paperwork sorted, we found out that it was not necessary for her to come in after all."
In her post, Nur Sheila then urged the EPF to review their SOP
"We live in a country that is categorised as a relatively advanced and democratic country. Change the way we think. It is not my intention to find fault but just the need for change for our future contributors," she wrote, asking the agency to do something about their Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).
Following Nur Sheila's viral post, it has over 9,500 shares at the time of writing, EPF released a statement, apologising for the incident
"The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has been informed of the latest news on the experience of one of the EPF members in Johor Bahru," read the EPF statement posted on its Facebook page.
"The EPF is deeply saddened and sorry for the unpleasant experience. We have contacted and met with the member and her family to better understand the situation," it added.
In the statement, EPF also said that they would use this incident to "improve their current processes".