Most disagree with new retirement age
Most of the people disagreed with extending the retirement age of civil servants from 56 to 58 years old which was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Saturday. They said that the new retirement age would affect the productivity and delivery system in the State as well as in the Country. Consumer Association of Sabah and Labuan (Cash) President Datuk Patrick Sindu said increasing the retirement age would not help to improve the delivery system in the public sector. “Even though the Government gives them many incentives such as increasing their salary, it will not help improve our delivery system. This is because most of them are just sitting down, doing nothing and just waiting for their retirement, ”he said. Patrick pointed out that those who just sit and wait for their retirement are like ‘dead wood’. “These ‘dead wood’ will become a liability to the Government due to redundancy arid inefficiency,” he said. Patrick further said there were cases where some people in the Government sector just punched in their cards but were not around in the office. “This attitude will affect our delivery system in the State and in the country and even become worse when those in the age of retirement did the same thing,” he said. He said by increasing the retirement age, it would also stop the younger generation from getting a good job or promoted to a better rank in their work places as the seniors are still around. “There are many graduates outside there who are still unemployed. Isn’t it better for them to work in the Government sector then to have the ‘dead wood’ working in the sector?” said Patrick, adding unless they could prove their efficiency, it should not be a problem. On Saturday, Abdullah announced that the mandatory retirement age of public sector employees has been raised from 56 to 58 effective July 1 this year as part of several incentives. The other incentives include the calculation of the pension based on a maximum 30 years of service, up from the current 25 years, for all public employees effective January 1, 2009. The derivative pension would be maintained at 100 per cent, also effective January 1. Meanwhile, Jenson Jemudah, a 48-year-old credit officer attached to the Sabah Credit Corporation also disagreed with the new retirement age. He said that most people who have reached the age of 50 would slow down on their work. “One of the reasons is health. We know that those at this age can easily get sick or suffer from many illnesses. When they are sick, most of their works are left undone. This will affect the productivity,” he said. Jenson also said the new retirement age is also not suitable for those involved in practical works such as technicians. “We know that a technician has to do the work by himself and also need a lot of energy. A tehnician at the age of 58 will find it hard to handle his job more efficiently and maybe the speed of his work will slow down,” said Jenson who chose to retire at the age of 55. “I have already decided it earlier before the announcement was made. One of the reasons is that I have been working so long,” Jenson said when asked why he wanted to retire at 55. The 48-year-old father of four children also said that the number of unemployed, especially the youths, in the country is so big. “There is a possibility for them (younger generation) not getting a job because they only get a small opportunity to work in the Government sector due to the increase of retirement age and competition from other job- seekers,” he said. A husband and wife from Kota Marudu said they would agree if the new retirement age is not made mandatory. Majawat @ Dominic Gorotom, 58, said that some people wished to retire at the age of 56 due to many factors and one of them is health. “It depends on individuals. If they think they still can work until the age of 58, then they can work until that age. But some people want to retire at 56 due to health reason and some also want to spend more time with their family members and grandchildren after working hard all this while,” said the former civil servant. He said the new retirement age should not be made mandatory as some people have no interest in working anymore when they reach 56. “Some of them want to do business and many other things,” Dominic said. His wife Mainah bt Umboh, 57, a retired nurse, said that there is no point forcing a person to work until the age of 58 if he or she has lost interest in working after reaching 56. “This will affect the quality of work as they have, to work unwillingly. It will also put stress on them,” she said. “The Government should not make the new retirement mandatory but give the civil servants a choice,” Mainah added.