‘Cuts may drive young away’

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 07 Sep 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: The removal of permanent posts and pension schemes beginning next year could deter the young from joining the public service, said the Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services Malaysia (Cuepacs).

Its president Datuk Azih Muda asked if the proposal was in line with the Federal Constitution.

“Does this mean that the clause in the Federal Constitution for civil servants and pensionable services will no longer be enforced next year?” he asked in a statement on Thursday.

On Thursday, Public Service director-general Datuk Seri Borhan Dolah said new appointments in the public service next year may no longer be made under the permanent and pension schemes, but will be replaced by an improved contractual scheme.

Azih said Cuepacs was shocked with the statement, and disappointed the government did not count the opinions of unions as important.

He also asked why the country’s revenue had not increased.

“How are the civil servants going to have a better life – including owning a house, having assets and providing for their children’s education?

“And what about their social protection?” he asked, while expressing hope that discussions on the issue would continue between the government and Cuepacs.

Former health director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said the decision was made because the government was possibly short on funds, and may not be able to provide pensions anymore.

Dr Ismail urged the government to maintain the pension scheme if possible as the lesser-skilled or unskilled workers may have difficulties coping without a pension.

“Whatever the government plans to do, it needs to get feedback from stakeholders, and if it does go ahead with the plan, it should be done incrementally and not overnight,” he said.

Pensioner Koh Tuat Guek, 65, asked: “If pensions and housing are taken away, who will work for the government?”

The government could try keeping the pension scheme by cutting down on the number of workers in “unnecessary areas”, said the former secondary school headmistress based in Melaka.

Alternatively, the government could consider giving performance-based incentives, which could include pensions, to improve the quality of service, she added.

Another pensioner, Jean Pala, 70, a retired statistician, said that while she could understand the burden of pension payment, she concurred with Koh that the size of the civil service needed to be trimmed.

“If the pension scheme is taken away, my concern is EPF contributions will not last.

“This is happening to many contributors (in the private sector) now as many are living longer,” she said, adding that medical benefits should still be given as older people have more medical needs.
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