PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress supports the government's initiative to review the current retirement age of 60 in view of the higher number of retirees who do not have sufficient funds for their old age, said its secretary-general J. Solomon.
He said MTUC has been making representations for an increase of the retirement age since 2012 as life expectancy of Malaysians has increased.
"Data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) published in 2018, life expectancy for male was 73.2, female 77.6 and average life expectancy is 75.3. Malaysia ranks 71 in World Life Expectancy rankings.
"Many continue to seek employment after official retirement age as they still have housing loans to settle and support the tertiary education of their children," he said.
Solomon pointed out that depressed wages in Malaysia for the last 61 years was the main cause of poor savings in the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) especially for the B40 and M40 wage earners.
He said without increasing the retirement age, MTUC does not know how else the workers in the B40 and M40 can better prepare themselves for retirement if their wages are continuously kept low.
He added many seniors are being sidelined and some directly forced out by companies and retired early especially when the companies are established and doing well.
"This should stop as the senior workers prefer to be independent and do not wish to burden their children or the government.
"Forced early retirement is gross injustice to one who wishes to continue earning a living to sustain their livelihood with dignity and violates his human rights," Solomon said.
He said the government should look at raising the retirement age to 65, not just to enable workers to continue to have an income but also to enable an active lifestyle.
He said the extended retirement age should apply both to the public and private sectors, but it should be voluntary for those who opt to retire at 60 for various reasons.
Solomon said any argument that an extension of retirement age will deprive the younger generation of employment is unjustified in view of the millions of migrant workers in Malaysia.
He said MTUC feels that the extension of the retirement age is not only feasible but will boost economic growth.
Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran had said on Tuesday that the government is looking to review the current retirement age of 60 in view of the high number of retirees who do not have sufficient funds to see them through.