HR minister says will consider calls for higher retirement age, cost of living allowance

Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran speaks to reporters after a tree-planting event in Ipoh September 2, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran speaks to reporters after a tree-planting event in Ipoh September 2, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, Sept 2 — The government will study the Malaysian Trade Unions Congress’ (MTUC) proposal to raise the mandatory retirement age from 60 to 65, said Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran.

He said that the government will review the matter before Budget 2020 that is expected to be tabled next month.

“We have full employment in the country at the moment. We will study and make a good decision in the near future,” he told reporters after attending the tree planting programme at Taman Dr Seenivasagam here.

Yesterday, MTUC secretary-general J. Solomon proposed raising the retirement age in Budget 2020 in a move to allow low-wage earners and older workers to amass more Employees Provident Fund (EPF) savings.

Solomon also urged the government to introduce a monthly RM500 cost of living allowance (COLA) for all workers to alleviate the pressures of rising costs.

When asked if unemployment should be given more attention than raising the retirement age, Kulasegaran said that the unemployment rate in the country is only at 3.3 per cent.

The minister added that Malaysia was experiencing a worker shortage, which required the entry of migrant workers.

“But the problem that we are facing now is the graduate unemployment and youth employment. This is what should be addressed,” he said.

Kulasegaran also said the government has suggested for unemployed youths to be reskilled with Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes.

“There are a lot of employers looking for workers who have skills. So TVET programmes guarantee jobs,” he added.

To make it easier for working adults to get skills training, Kulasegaran said his ministry also requested that TVET open classes after 5.30pm.

On the COLA suggestion, Kulasegaran said this will be referred to the Finance Ministry for evaluation.

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