19 April 2008

It may be optional, says Cuepacs


KUALA LUMPUR: The new retirement age for civil servants, set by the government, would most likely be optional.

The Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) president Omar Osman said although the government had agreed to extend the retirement age to 60, they most likely would settle on 58.

Expecting an official announcement before Labour Day on May 1, Omar said Cuepacs had been pushing for the retirement age to be extended from 56 to 60 to compete with other countries in the region.

"After Brunei, Malaysia is the only country in Southeast Asia that has workers retiring early (at 56).

"Even a small country like Singapore has set its retirement age at 62," said Omar.
He added that the new age adjustment would apply to all, including support service staff, as an effort to standardise the system.

Cuepacs also drew up plans for the new assessment method to replace the efficiency level assessment (PTK) exam, which was scrapped by the government on Thursday.

"Workers in Grades 1 to 16, which consist of support service staff like drivers, office assistants and the like, will be assessed based on their daily work performance," Omar told the New Straits Times.

Workers in Grades 17 to 40, who include clerical and administrative staff, will be required to go for courses.

"They will be evaluated on the spot through their participation in workshops during the training but there will be no exams."

Omar said the Public Service Department (PSD) had agreed to implement the new method but had given one week for Cuepacs to gather feedback from its members and make the necessary changes or additional recommendations.

The extension of the retirement age and the new method of evaluation were two of five demands that were given the green light by the government in a meeting with Cuepacs, on Thursday.

The other demands that were approved were the upgrading of the housing allowance, re-introduction of the 10 per cent critical allowance scheme and an approval of a new pension scheme based on years of service.

Cuepacs had been negotiating the five demands as well as an additional RM2,000 honorarium payment for civil servants for years.

Despite not having the honorarium payment approved, Omar said Cuepacs was happy with the decisions that had been made thus far.

The Thursday meeting also resulted in Cuepacs calling off its plan to boycott Labour Day.

"The prime minister has been very attentive to our needs. The boycott was initially planned because the government did not pay attention to our demands."

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