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Monday, May 30, 2011

‘If they are fit, let them work’

Putting private sector employees to pasture at the age of 55 is equivalent to a brain drain. Trade unions say all the experience will go to waste.

SUBANG JAYA: Trade unions feel that the term brain drain should also apply to senior citizens. They feel that once a healthy individual with vast experience is told to leave when he or she reaches retirement age, the company will face a brain drain.

Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) secretary-general Abdul Halim Mansor said those in their late 50s and 60s are hardworking, healthy and an asset to any company.

“In the private sector they are forced to retire at 55 even though they can work for another 10 years,” Abdul Halim said.

In January, MTUC proposed to the Human Resouces Ministry to extend the retirement age of workers in the private sector to 58 to be on par with the public sector.

In April, Human Resources Minister Dr S Subramaniam indicated that the retirement age of those in the private sector may be raised to 58 .

“We feel that 58 is still too early to retire and want the age increased to 60,” Halim said.

“First World countries like Belgium, United Kingdom and Japan have set the retirement age at 65.

Unfortunately in Malaysia, the retirement age is still below 60 and we are in the same bracket as Guyana, Bangladesh and Nepal,” he added.

No healthcare plan

National Council of Senior Citizens Organisations Malaysia has said that the life span of the two million senior citizens in Malaysia are 72 for males and 75 years for females.

From a financial point, increasing their retirement age will give them more security.

Unlike civil servants, private sectors employees do not receive pensions. They only have the Employees Provident Fund (EPF ).

According to many studies, retired employees use up the EPF within five years.

“They need to keep on working because the cost of living has gone up and unlike the public sector, there is no healthcare plan for them,” Halim said.

A former banker said that he completely finished the EPF fund in three years. He said that he has to work part-time as an accountant to keep going.

Halim also said that employers should not wait for the government to make a move. They should on their own re-employ those who are capable and are an assest to the company.

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