Bosses seek greater flexibility in retirement age and conditions

PETALING JAYA - The move to raise the retirement age places Malaysia among the world's developed nations, says the Malaysian Emplo­yers Federation (MEF).

It welcomed the tabling of the Bill in parliament to increase the retirement age in the private sector from 55 to 60.

Its vice-president Abdul Wahab Abu Bakar said this would put Malaysia in line with other Asean countries such as Singapore and Thailand.

"However, employers should be given a reasonable window period to make the transition," he said.

He added that both employers and employees should be given an optional age to retire before 60 when the implementation comes into force.

"Employees who want to retire before 60 should be allowed to do so while employers must also be allowed to retire those who are not value-adding or performing anymore," he added.

The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) president Tan Sri Yong Poh Kon said it supports the move to increase the working age of Malaysians.

"However, we prefer a Mandatory Reemployment Act that comes with different terms and greater flexibility," he said when contacted.

Yong said current labour and employment-related legislation in Malaysia was too rigid and a mandatory increase in retirement age would not help.

"The private sector would like to see a longer transition period prior to the policy being implemented," he said.

Yong added that small-and-medium enterprises were already facing challenges with cost increases due to the implementation of the minimum wage and raising the retirement age would be a double squeeze on their operating margins.

Malaysian Trades Union Congress vice-president W.M. Naim Shukri Mohamad said it would be a great help to low-wage earners.

"This category of employees suffer after 55 and have to look for other jobs," he said, adding that most have to work beyond 60.

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