Tabung Amanah Pekerja or the Employees Trust Fund, is a department under the Ministry of Finance responsible for collecting 10% contributory fund from employees (TAP members) for their retirement. Every month, employees who are residents and citizens of the country will have 5% of their salary deducted for their retirement savings in TAP, another 5% is topped up by their employers. It is the employer’s responsibility to deduct and pay the contribution to TAP over the counter. TAP also has several provisions for withdrawal depending on the employees eligibility, for example, withdrawal to build or to buy a house, pre-retirement withdrawal at the age of 50 (25% of savings), withdrawals for permanently incapacitated employees, and etc.
Currently, employees receive their TAP statement annually which is posted to their home or office address. Registration and withdrawals application are done over the counter, where TAP members are required to fill in specific forms with relevant documents (if necessary). Based on TAP’s Website (tap.gov.bn), there are already some forms available which members and employers can download, however, the forms still needs to be submitted to TAP counter. In terms of contribution payment, the latest service provided by TAP is payment of contributions by employers directly to several (but not all) banks in Brunei.
Therefore, we would like to see some of TAP services done online, we recommend the following along with our justifications:
- e-Payment for TAP contributions from the employers account to TAP account - the system shall provide a template of all the employees listed under the employer’s account, and employers can change the details electronically (e.g. resigned employees, or change of salary) without having to go through the hassle of filling in and submitting confirmation forms to TAP’s office. Notably, only authorized personnel shall have access to employers’ account. This system will facilitate employers as they do not have to go to the TAP’s offices or the banks to make the payment. Additionally, the employers’ account shall also consist of a special notification or reminder ‘pop-up’ so that payments will be made on time, and employers do not have to worry about paying late payment charges and dividend loss (if payments are made after TAP’s grace period).
- e-Registration of employees and employers - as TAP is mandatory to employees who are citizens and permanent residents of Brunei, and with the growing workforce in the country, most businesses will most likely have increasing number of new employees. Through e-Registration, employers will not have to go to TAP’s office to collect the form, have their employees to fill in their details, submit back to TAP, and then have to wait for these new employees TAP’s account number. We suggest that the e-Registration system will enable employees to register, and at the same time, create a TAP e-account for them.
- Online TAP statement for members - Noting the above suggestion, the online TAP statement shall also be available whereby members will be able to check their TAP funds and also to check if their 5% salary deduction is made to TAP. If no or wrong deduction is made, members shall be able to directly notify TAP (electronically). This way, members do not have to wait for one year to wait for their annual statements to finally be able to check their past 12 months contributions, which, consequently will take longer process for TAP to check and take action upon. By having an e-account, members will also be facilitated in planning for their retirement by looking at their latest retirement fund and projecting their future wealth more properly.
- Online withdrawal applications - currently, members who wish to make withdrawals to their funds (partially or the whole sum, depending on their eligibility)are required to fill in specific withdrawal forms which can be obtained from TAP's offices pr downloaded from its Website. These forms need to be physically submitted back to TAP for further processes. Therefore, to facilitate members, we would like to see the availability of online withdrawal application whereby members can apply online, without having t go to TAP's office. The Website must provide a comprehensive guidelines on how members can apply online and can only be processed when certain criteria is met, for example, using a password, or authentication via telephone by TAP's officers. The Website must also be interactive in such a way that it can provide the latest status of a member's withdrawal application (eg. not yet processed, in the process, rejected, or approved).