Govt urged to retain civil service pension scheme

For your troubles: Hassan handing out financial aid to a victim of a recent freak storm at Taman Plentong Baru in Johor Baru as Johor Jaya assemblywoman Liow Cai Tung (second from right) looks on.

SEREMBAN: The government should not abolish the pension scheme currently being enjoyed by eligible civil servants, says the Congress of Union of Employees in the Public and Civil Services Malaysia (Cuepacs).

Its president Datuk Dr Adnan Mat said it should also not be made compulsory for new hires in the civil service to contribute to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) like workers in the private sector as the public sector salary scheme is still low.

“Our stand is that if the government wants to implement something, it must be based on the principle of not reducing the current benefits enjoyed by civil servants.

“The government should ensure the salary received today is able to provide for the well-being of civil servants and at the same time, allow them to save for their retirement,” he said.

On Wednesday, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the government had to spend some RM120bil to cover pension payments by 2040 if new salary schemes for hiring public officers were not introduced.

The Deputy Prime Minister said the government would introduce a new civil service hiring policy, which will include a new pension scheme.

He said under this method, new intakes into the civil service would contribute to retirement schemes such as EPF and the Social Security Organisation.

Public Service director-general Datuk Seri Wan Ahmad Dahlan Abdul Aziz had also previously said that the relevant laws were still being amended to allow for the creation of a new civil service recruitment method and that it would reduce the country’s fiscal burden.

Adnan said the government should first hold engagement sessions with stakeholders before considering any proposal which includes making it mandatory for new civil servants to contribute to EPF rather than the pension scheme.

“Although there are serving civil servants who have chosen the EPF contribution scheme, the majority prefer the pension scheme because it is considered better and guarantees well-being after retirement,” he said.

He said if financial constraints were preventing the government from continuing with the public service pension scheme, the abolition of pensions to MPs, assemblymen and those appointed to executive positions such as exco, minister, deputy minister has to be first stopped.

”The abolition of pensions to this group first is the right step because most of them have only served around five years.

“This group not only receives high allowances and allocations while serving but also has various privileges compared to civil servants who on average serve more than 30 years,” he added.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in Selangor, Melaka and Johor said instead of cutting pensions of civil servants, the government should first stop paying them for ministers and elected reps.s

They also warned that a lack of job security in the new scheme for civil servants as compared to the pension system will affect the government’s overall productivity.

PKR MP Hassan Abdul Karim said the new contract system, which is supposed to start on Feb 1, could also affect the public’s desire to enter the civil service.

“Imagine if the civil servant’s contract is terminated at age 30 and above, he or she has already been in one specialisation for a few years and it might be difficult for them to switch jobs or start a business,” Hassan, the Pasir Gudang MP, told The Star yesterday in Johor Baru after handing out aid to 12 families whose roofs were destroyed in a recent storm.

Johor lawmaker, Ling Tian Soon, said instead of cutting pensions of low and middle-ranking civil servants, the government should first stop paying the pensions of ministers, deputy minister and elected reps.

“Yes, the government’s financial burden is great so perhaps such changes should first be made for elected representatives, ministers and all the YBs. Stop putting the rakyat on the spot,” said Ling, who is also Johor health and unity committee chairman.

“The healthcare sector is already in dire shortage of doctors and nurses. This issue will worsen the situation as the rakyat might not want to enter the civil service when they are only offered contract-based employment without pension,” said the Yong Peng assemblyman in a Facebook post.

A Melaka lawmaker, Dr Akmal Saleh, echoed this point saying that the pensions of MPs should be phased out first.

“We understand the financial pressure the government is facing at the moment. However, let the pension scheme phase out and start with MPs first,” the Merlimau assemblyman said on Facebook.

The Umno Youth chief added that MPs across the political divide can lead by example by agreeing to forego their pensions.

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