Expert urges commission before abolishing civil servant pensions

Pension seen as guarantee for civil servants, not just compensation

Aisyah Basaruddin
Aisyah Basaruddin
11 Feb 2024 12:03pm
Photo for illustration purpose only. - FILE PIX by Bernama
Photo for illustration purpose only. - FILE PIX by Bernama

SHAH ALAM - The government is urged to devise a fresh strategy by establishing a commission to thoroughly analyse the repercussions of abolishing the pension scheme for new civil servants with permanent status, aiming to mitigate adverse effects and consider all stakeholders, stressed expert.

Sultan Zainal Abidin University (UniSZA) International Relations Studies Centre Head Dr Hussain Yusri Zawawi said it aims to avoid the negative effects of the scheme's abolition, in addition to considering all parties.

He said the country has many other resources that have not been discussed and could be used to cover part of the pension payment cost of RM32 billion.

"When the Cabinet agreed (to abolish the pension scheme), a commission should have been held to study in more detail the impact on civil servants in the long term as has been done before.

"The reason for this pension is not now; it was made before the independence of the British era, and it was just gazetted into the 1980 Pension Act.

"We just need to improve so that justice is given to all parties, so it is not possible if we want to reduce the burden of national expenditure, but the impact on civil servants is negative; it does not meet the original objective of the act," he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's January announcement noted that new permanent civil servants would no longer receive pensions but instead contribute to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF).

The current pensions of existing civil servants remain unaffected.

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Meanwhile, Hussain who is a political analyst viewed that the government's action to abolish the civil servant pension scheme when the country is facing an economic crisis has a big impact on the 1.6 million people in question.

He added that the pension created is a guarantee for civil servants who serve as leading agents of national change.

"The government needs to understand the objective and sincerely dive into the pension philosophy.

"We have to go back to the act when it was first enacted, what was its goal and if you understand the duties and roles of civil servants, then this issue should not arise," he said.

When asked about the expectation if the government increase the salary scale of civil servants to end the pension scheme, Hussain said that the matter should be seen from two different dimensions because it is a gift and should not be abolished even if income is increased.

"The adjustment of civil servants' salaries has been a long time since it has been done, if today the government wants to adjust it and cancel pensions, it will create a different perception.

"Don't open one space for us to close another space, it should be detailed again," he added.

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