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Increase retirement age from 56 to 65

Media Statement
by Dr Tan Seng Giaw  


(Kuala Lumpur, Friday) : I press the Government truly to implement the proposal to increase retirement age from 56 to 65.

In the past over 20 years, despite the repeated proposals from various bodies, the Government has dithered because of certain reasons.

I agree with the statement by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that retiring at 56 is too early. The number of senior citizens, 60 years and above, is increasing steadily.

The life expectancy of Malaysians continues to improve. Now, its 76 years for women and 73 for men. Lengthening the retirement age in public and private sectors is essential.

In the 80s last century, we urged the Government repeatedly to increase the retirement age. It managed to add one more year. Then, it has been hesitating ever since. Replying to our questions in Parliament, it has quoted myriad reasons for the vacillation, such as the government machinery is complicated, some civil servants are not suitable for extension of their service after 56, a service of over 35 years is too long and the promotions of younger people may be affected.

The Prime Minister's Department has listed a number of nations with retirement age 60 and above: U.K., U.S.A., Sweden, Norway (67), Australia, Japan (65), Singapore, Thailand (62), China, Korea, The Philippines(60).

Malaysia has only 13 more years to reach its target of becoming a developed nation. Why should she continue to lag behind other nations on the retirement age?

If we do not use suitable formula to increase gradually the retirement age, more young people will have to pay taxes to sustain more senior citizens. At present, the annual budget has statutory allocations of over RM20 billion for the remunerations of the King, the Chief Justices, the Speakers of Dewan Negara and Dewan Rakyat, payments of national debts and pensions and gratuities, and so forth. Pensions and gratuities are over RM5 billion; the amount is increasing yearly.

We would like to see the Government stop dithering and get on with the gradual increase in the retirement age. We shall continue to remind the Prime Minister in Parliament.



*Dr Tan Seng Giaw ,  DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong

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