Mixed reactions to retiring at 60

MIRI: The proposal to increase the retirement age of private sector employees to 60 has drawn mixed reactions from working adults here.

Some are all for it while others would like the Government to not go ahead with the plan. There are also those who supported it on condition that it is applicable to selected professions only.

Shahidah Muslimah Roslan, 27, from Shah Alam said that while the move would allow an employee to contribute longer, it might also take a toll on the employee’s physical and mental health.

Shahidah, who is deputy public prosecutor (DPP), said at 60, the performance of employees would definitely not be as good as when they were younger.

“The only positive aspect of having to retire at 60 is that employees, especially those with a wealth of experience and considered assets to a particular organisation, will be able to contribute longer which benefits their organisation.”

However, she stressed that not all jobs could fit a 60-year-old.

“For an example, can a 60-year-old DPP handle a trial from 8am to 5pm and continue to study the case at night?

“Personally I feel that to handle such a job, one must not only be physically and emotionally fit but also mentally strong. At 60, we are already physically slowing down,” she said.

Shahidah further suggested that the only suitable job for a 60-year-old to do well would be one that was more of an advisory role.

She personally believed that the most appropriate retirement age for an employee would be between 50 and 55.

To another question, she did not agree with the argument by certain quarters that the proposal would impede the chances of young employees to go far in their career.

“Given a fair chance, we will still be able to advance in our career more on merit and quality performance. So, no I don’t think it will affect the promotion part of it,” she said.

The Star on Tuesday reported that a proposal to increase the retirement age of the private sector to 60 would be tabled in the next Parliament sitting in June.

Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri S. Subramaniam was quoted as saying that the proposal was to ensure that the public sector and the private sector’s retirement age was in tandem with each other.

The rationale behind the proposal, among others was to reduce the strain on the social system caused by longer life spans, he added.

Subramaniam said his ministry had discussed the matter at length with the employer associations, which had responded positively.

An administrative officer attached with the Miri City Council, Dayang Siti Nurbaya Awang Kipli, 37, felt that the proposal was okay for male employees but not female.

The proposal should be made applicable only to the male employees whereas for female employees, the retirement age should ideally be retained at 56 to 58 years old, she added.

“At the age of 60, I see myself having quality time with my family with no job stress,” she said.

She concurred with Shahidah that at 60, most workers would not be performing at their peak.

“We’ve to accept the fact that at 60, we’re physically slowing down already,” she added.

As for 33-year-old court interpreter Conrad Barms, the proposal had both its pros and cons.

“It is good because it would mean we will be able to contribute longer, hence continue to have a stable income.

“The bad side of it of course is at that age, we’re already physically slowing down,” he said.

“Perhaps the biggest beneficiary from the proposed extended retirement age would be the financial institutions where the loan period could be further extended by several years.

“I reckon with the proposal, more people will be in debt until at a very old age,” he said, adding: “By right at 60, one is supposed to be enjoying life with family and friends and not paying debts.”

“Personally, I think the best retirement age is 57 or 58.”

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