30 December 2007

'Let workers retire at 60'


PUTRAJAYA: The Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) will submit a memorandum to the government calling for the retirement age in the public sector to be extended from the present 56 to 60.

Its president, Omar Osman, said yesterday this would benefit the more than 1.2 million civil servants in the country.

He said Cuepacs had studied various international practices and its recommendation was based on what was suitable and relevant for the country.

"We have also taken into consideration productivity, government expenditure, longer lifespan and others. It is acceptable to say that life nowadays begins at 50, no longer at 40. People are living much longer and they can contribute something to the nation.

"In fact, we first proposed the matter in 1998 but there was no response. We are doing it again as our members are still productive at 56 and with the vast experience accumulated over the years, they can do wonders to enhance the image of the civil service."
Omar also said the trend of people marrying late was also a factor.

"These days, graduates, especially, marry at an older age and by the time they retire, their children are still in school. It will be of great help if their service is extended for several more years."

Omar said Singapore, for instance, had raised the retirement age for its civil servants from 60 in 1993 to 62 in 1999.

The government spends some RM6 billion annually in payouts, which include gratuity, to an average of 1,000 civil servants who retire every year. This is in addition to the monthly pensions being paid to pensioners.

At present, a public sector employee is required to retire on reaching the age of 56. However, for those appointed before Oct 1, 2001, it is either 55 or 56 years, depending on the option made under the Service Circular No. 3/2001.

Judges retire at the age of 65.

Government servants can also apply for optional retirement on or after attaining the age of 40, provided they have no less than 10 years of reckonable service.

Omar said he would lead a Cuepacs team to talk to the Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, to discuss the matter.

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