18 December 2008

Pensioners living overseas now eligible to receive pension

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 18 — Civil servants residing overseas after retiring are eligible to receive pensions with the amendments made to the Pensions Act, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.

He said with amendments to the clause related to guidelines on residence, pensioners would receive their pension even if they reside overseas, as opposed to the earlier eligibility which requires retirees to be in Malaysia to receive such payments.

'Since the pension scheme was initiated to recognise their contribution during their years of service, it is only fair that they enjoy the benefit even if they are not staying in the country,' said Nazri when tabling the Pensions Bill (Amendment) (No.2) in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Nazri said the amendments were made as many retirees had migrated or forced to stay overseas for long periods because they wanted to be with their children or grandchildren.

He said based on the previous residential eligibility requirement, pension payment to 657 widows or widowers residing overseas was stopped while a further 1,332 pensioners staying overseas only received their basic pension without any adjustments.

'Through the amendments to the Bill, the government would spend another RM32 million in 2009,' he said.

He said the government also agreed on the adjustment on the payment and adjustment of pensions, derivative pensions and the allowance of pensions from 25 years’ service to 30 years, starting from Jan 1.

'The amendments would involve 115,000 retirees and pensioners, and incur an additional RM718 million to the government,' he said.

The Pensions Act was also amended to enable officers who had opted for the Employees Provident Fund scheme to convert to the pension scheme or other benefits starting from Jan 1. They would be given until Feb 1 to decide.

“Though we cannot calculate the cost involved in the implementation of the system now as it would be based on the final figure of those accepting the option, the additional expenses are expected to cost the government about RM1 billion in 2009,” he said. — Bernama

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