PETALING JAYA, Dec 23 ― Over the weekend, a Facebook post of a cancer patient being forced to take an ambulance to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) office went viral.
The post had more than 18,000 reactions and 13,000 shares.
On Saturday, the patient, who is 56 years old and has stage 4 cancer, had to go to the EPF office in person to the office in Johor Baru in order to withdraw her balance from her account, despite being bedridden.
The patient’s sister, Nur Sheila Abdullah, shared a descriptive post onto her Facebook page, detailing the struggles they had to go through to help their sister travel to the EPF office to complete her withdrawal.
“EPF’s slogan is ‘Ready to Help’, but as I think back, is that slogan right?” wrote Nur Sheila.
“Or is it just to help healthy contributors? And if you are sick and bedded, please help yourself.”
She went on to explain that the EPF staff were adamant that her sister physically show up to the office to take out her balance, whether or not she is able to walk, as they required her to take a thumbprint scan.
“My brother and I asked the information counter at the Johor Baru EPF office for help because our sister is a cancer patient who is bedridden,” wrote Nur Sheila.
“We asked them if they would be kind enough to make a home visit and take her fingerprints manually, as well as to verify any information they need, but their response was disheartening,
“They said no and that it didn’t matter if she came in an ambulance or a stretcher, but she would still have to come down to the office to use their machine to take her fingerprint.”
In light of their response, Nur Sheila and her brother proceeded to rent an ambulance as their transport to take her sister to the office but were once again let down by the EPF staff and facilities.
“The ambulance we rented was told off by the security and instructed to drive to the back of the building so that we don’t block the front entrance,” wrote Nur Sheila.
“The driver was in a hurry but had to go around many times and couldn’t find a spot to park. Finally, an EPF officer came to the ambulance and ordered them to push the stretcher all the way to the counter.”
She added that she was extremely sad seeing her sister being stretchered into the building as she quickly became the centre of attention to bystanders in the office.
To make matters worse, soon after they sorted out the paperwork, an EPF officer approached them and said that they didn’t have to come to the office and could have just done everything manually, but it would take more time.
“EPF really needs to review their Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), we live in a country that is democratic and somewhat advanced, we need to change the way we think about these kinds of things,” wrote Nur Sheila.
“It isn’t my intention to find fault but there has to be a change when it comes to convenience for all contributors in the future.”
Social media users were equally enraged with the way Nur Sheila’s sister was treated by the EPF employees, as they voiced their displeasure saying that the officials still have a lot to learn.
“Instead of the bedridden patient having to come down to the office, why not the officers visit her home and see her condition? All you’d have to do is take a few photos as supporting documents for proof, taking it to this point is just nonsense,” wrote a user.
Other users mentioned that the officials were not using common sense by asking Nur Sheila’s sister to travel to the office and said that they would have never done that to someone from their own family.
EPF has since released a statement on its Facebook page apologising for their staff’s poor handling of the situation.
“EPF is extremely sorry and wishes to apologise for the unpleasant experience the contributor and her family faced,
“We have contacted and met with the contributor to better understand the situation. This is not only to help them but also to use this experience to improve our existing processes so that we can provide better services to our contributors,” read the statement.
It added that the company’s goal is always to help out its contributors and take great care with complaints and feedback from its contributors so that it can continue to improve its overall services.