June 30, 2008

40 Per Cent Barely Enough to Cope With Rising Costs

By James Gonzales

I WAS surprised to learn that pensioners in Singapore and even less affluent countries like Sri Lanka are paid 100 per cent of their last drawn salary, while those in South Korea, Japan and China receive 80 per cent of their last drawn salary. In comparison, pensioners in Malaysia are given an unfair deal.

Contrary to popular belief, pensioners in Malaysia do not receive half of their last drawn salary. It's a misnomer. Pensioners only receive 40 per cent of their last drawn earnings, as all their allowances earned are not pensionable. It would go a long way towards assisting pensioners cope with the increased cost of living if pensions are calculated based on their last drawn gross earnings, inclusive of all allowances earned.

While the government has made some improvements to the scheme of service for civil servants by extending the retirement age to 58, the maximum pension to 30 years of service and granting spouses 100 per cent of the pensioner's pension instead of 70 per cent, more can be done to alleviate the difficulties faced by pensioners.

Most civil servants have given their best part of their lives during their careers in the civil service. It's only fair that the government show its gratitude to these former dedicated public servants in retirement, many of whom are in the twilight years of their life.


Kuala Lumpur

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