CONSUMERIST: GOVT ADVISED DON’T FORCE THOSE QUITTING AT 55!

Dato Jacob George

‘The pertinent question remains why should our EPF savings be retained after 55 unless there is a hidden agenda, a clandestine covert plan of action of an ugly kind and dimension!

It is in the interest of the government to allow flexibility for employees to decide for themselves whether they want to retire at 55 or otherwise!

However the increase of the age limit should not prevent those who have already attained 55 to withdraw their savings!’ – Dr Jacob George

CONSUMERIST: GOVT ADVISED DON’T FORCE THOSE QUITTING AT 55!

The Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam Selangor (CASSA) read with great apprehension and concern the ongoing debate and proposal for a higher retirement age in Malaysia.

All of us are quite aware that the details of the said proposal are still being ironed out and as such not published!

As a result CASSA, other NGOs and the civil society members are not in a position to advice those who come to us for an opinion!

As rightly pointed out by a member of the public in his letter to award winning and internationally recognized news portal Malaysiakini that the trade unions appear to be heavily consulted in the formulation of the said policy but the lacuna is that there are millions outside that umbrella who are not a member of any unions and their interests and rights will be affected in the wake of a decision being made!

Forcing them to immediately resort to the courts for a decision which will be unhealthy in the current political and economic climate!

Their arguments hold water as they may have already made retirement plans at 55 and awaiting to withdraw their EPF savings!

Others may say this is a ploy to retain the our savings as the government is going bankrupt and this would be create a backlash come GE13!

The pertinent question remains why should our EPF savings be retained after 55 unless there is a hidden agenda, a clandestine covert plan of action of an ugly kind and dimension!

It is in the interest of the government to allow flexibility for employees to decide for themselves whether they want to retire at 55 or otherwise!

However the increase of the age limit should not prevent those who have already attained 55 to withdraw their savings!

The arguments put forward by those opposing the move are real!

CASSA supports their contention that there are Malaysians who are not subsidy mentality driven and who have planned their retirement planning with dedication and foresight. They may already have adequate funds in their EPF account, and personal savings and investments, to retire at the age of 55.

What stop them and cause great dissatisfaction to them!

They may have planned their retirement for years, diligently doing their calculations, extrapolating the EPF contributions and dividends, carefully investing a certain percentage in mutual funds or other plans, where applicable, spending modestly and never overextending themselves like certain cross section of the Malaysian demograph!

In summary, CASSA supports the contention that:

1. Malaysians who desire to be allowed to retire at the age of 55.

2. They should be allowed to withdraw all their EPF monies at the age of 55.

3. They should be allowed to withdraw one-third of their EPF account balance at the age of 50 (as the rules currently allow).

CASSA supports the government policy to accommodate the higher retirement age in view of demographics and global trends.

The proposed policy by the Human Resources Ministry should be flexible enough to create a opening for extension to those who want to or have to work till 60, but at the same time, there must be justice for those who are financially capable of retiring at 55.

No one should be politically arm twisted to work one day longer than they need to.

CASSA urges the government to be forewarned that any attempt to force through the policy changes, without reasonable consideration for the above demands and due flexibility is potentially damaging to its electoral chances, come GE13 where there will be another political irritation and mine field that the Najib administration can do without!

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