Thumbs up to new retirement age
It was ‘thumbs up’ from professionals and educationists to the new mandatory retirement age of 58 announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad badawi last Saturday. “Yes, I agree! Today’s lifestyle has changed, people are healthier, so at 58 they definitely are still considered young enough to go on working,” said Christina Aluda, an executive with an international voluntary organization. Her opinion was echoed by Nolin, an executive from the City Hall who said professionals and specialists with their experiences and expertise are needed to train the junior officers. Safiah Yusof, an executive from Sabah Softwood, (Sabah Foundation’s subsidiary), also welcomed the new retirement age, saying most private firms are hiring professionals and specialists who have retired from the civil service. “If you look around, most companies have in fact hired and rehired those who exceed the retiring age. For example, our CEO (Chief Executive Officer) retired from Guthrie, but because of his experiences, Sabah Softwood hired him,” she said. According to Safiah, many retirees are in fact still capable of performing their duties efficiently, so it would be a waste not to let them contribute to the State and country’s development.” Dayangku Azlina Awangku Aripen said the services of retirees can be utilized to train and assist newcomers as well as motivate the latter as future leaders and policy makers. Ahmad Sablee, who works for a government agency, said it is up to the individuals concerned whether to continue working or not. “But, I am sure many would agree to retire at 58,” he said. Anthony Kiob, an executive from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS). said the retirement age should only be imposed on those with merits, leadership skills, or are qualified and capable. “It would be good to consider those who are approaching retirement age for other posts such as training and grooming new officers. Maybe more of an advisory role,” he said. Politician and social activist Kanul Gindol felt that civil servants should be offered the option to retire at 58 on a case by case basis. “This should be offered to deserving officers or departments that needs their experience,” he said. Consumers Association of Sabah and Labuan (CASH) Deputy President Nordin Thani is of the view that the Government needs to identify or determine the more productive civil servants. “We need their leadership and it should be of quality so that they can train the juniors, fresh graduates or newcomers to the organizations. “In the western countries, governments have utilised the experiences of many people or their citizens who have reached 58 and above by asking them to venture into a lecturer position, politics and inviting them to give talks that concern motivation and leadership and professions. “I believe our Government has a good reason to extend the age of retirement and it must be of positive reason,” said Nordin. Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Lecturer, Benjamin Basintal said the Government must have strong reasons to raise the mardatory retirement age of civil servants. “There must be strong reasons for the extension; more quality contributions, problem-solving, creative and innovative ideas, dynamism and others,” he said, adding that this should lead to improved efficiency of the civil service.