MALACCA: For the first time, a total of 26 long-serving Malacca City Council workers are being given a pleasant trip overseas at the end of their working life, at the expense of the council.
The reward is being given to those who had been working for more than 25 years with exemplary service records.
For the Malay staff, an all-expense paid pilgrimage to Mecca is the reward, while Chinese staff were offered a tour of Bejing, Chengde and Tianjin. The Indians will get to see New Delhi and make a pilgrimage to the Ganges River.
A small ceremony was held at the City Council building on Thursday for the 26 staff who retired between January and July. Of the 26, 11 were Malays, six were Indians and nine were Chinese.
Hoe Hong Chung, 51 opted out early after serving for 30 years as a health inspector. He decided to opt for the Indian package to New Delhi rather than go to China, which he has visited before.
“This will be my first time to New Delhi, since my last two trips were to Bangalore.
“It’s not that I find China boring, but there was something spiritual about my trips to India,” said Hoe, who is the odd man out in the tour group to India.
Another retiree, Syed Ahmad, who served 34 years with the council in the Public Works Department, said it would be sad to leave the workforce.
But he was grateful to Datuk Bandar Zaini Md Nor for giving the all-expenses-paid pilgrimage as a farewell present.
“It’s a little sad, but all the same, I’ll be around more often to help with the housework after my wife and I return from the pilgrimage,” said Syed Ahmad, while his wife Rokiah Majid, 52, nodded in agreement.
Gratitude for the council’s generosity and the mayor’s concern about his staff was the prevailing sentiment among the retirees.
Retiree Wong Chan Seng, 56, put it best.
“This is the first time the Malacca City Council has ever given such a retirement package. You never saw this sort of thing being given away when Malacca was under the Municipal Council. Our Datuk Bandar cares very much about us,” said the retiring senior health inspector.
There were smiles all around at the gathering, including from the mayor himself.
“It’s more of a way of showing the council’s gratitude and appreciation for our staff. I had already promised the workers that if our finances allowed and the staff was working full steam, I’d give those retiring this year a free holiday,” said Zaini.