(The Malaysian Insider) - The Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam Selangor (CASSA) reads with great apprehension and concern the ongoing debate and proposal for a higher retirement age in Malaysia.
All of us are quite aware that the details of the said proposal are still being ironed out and as such not published.
As a result CASSA, other NGOs and the civil society members are not in a position to advice those who come to us for an opinion.
Neither CASSA nor others serving and consumer interests have been consulted like the trade unions who appear to be heavily consulted in the formulation of the said policy but the lacuna is that there are millions outside that umbrella who are not a member of any unions and their interests and rights to retire at 55 will be affected in the wake of a decision being made.
Forcing them to immediately resort to the courts for a decision will be unhealthy in the current political and economic climate.
Their arguments hold water as they may have already made retirement plans at 55 and are waiting to withdraw their EPF savings.
Others may say this is a ploy to retain the EPF savings as the government is going bankrupt and this would be create a backlash come GE13.
The pertinent question remains: why should our EPF savings be retained after 55 unless there is a hidden agenda, a clandestine covert plan of action of an ugly kind and dimension.
It is in the interest of the government to allow flexibility for employees to decide for themselves whether they want to retire at 55 or otherwise.
However, the increase of the age limit should not prevent those who have already attained 55 to withdraw their savings.
The arguments put forward by those opposing the move are real.
CASSA supports their contention that there are Malaysians who are not subsidy mentality driven and who have planned their retirement planning with dedication and foresight. They may already have adequate funds in their EPF account, and personal savings and investments, to retire at the age of 55.
Why stop them and cause great dissatisfaction to them.
They may have planned their retirement for years, diligently doing their calculations, extrapolating the EPF contributions and dividends, carefully investing a certain percentage in mutual funds or other plans, where applicable, spending modestly and never overextending themselves like certain cross-sections of the population.
In summary, CASSA supports the contention that: