KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 29 — The High Court here today granted leave for a group of 57 former civil servants to proceed with their lawsuit for the Malaysian government to immediately adjust their monthly pension payments according to the scheme in place when these started.

Datuk Baljit Singh Sidhu, a lawyer for the pensioners, confirmed that High Court judge Datuk Amarjeet Singh Serjit Singh allowed leave for his clients on one of the two reliefs they were seeking.

“We want to thank the Attorney General’s Chambers, which did not object to leave being granted,” he told reporters when met outside the courtroom after a hearing and decision by the High Court.

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The relief that the pensioners could proceed with seeking through judicial review is a court order to compel the Malaysian government to immediately adjust the pension amount they are entitled to receive by using a pre-2013 formula, and for the Malaysian government to pay these alleged pension arrears to the 57 former civil servants within 14 days or within other timeframes set by the court.

As for the other relief that was not granted leave today, Baljit said it was a consequential relief that would be covered by the other court order sought.

The consequential relief sought by the pensioners was for a declaration that the Malaysian government and the public services director-general’s non-payment of the alleged pension arrears are inconsistent with the Federal Constitution’s Articles 4(1), 5(1) and 8(1).

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The High Court will only decide on whether such a court order would be granted after hearing and deciding whether the pensioners succeed in their judicial review application.

The High Court has yet to fix a hearing date for the judicial review application, and has now scheduled March 14 for case management.

Datuk Abd Shukor Ahmad also represented the pensioners today, while federal counsel Ainna Sherina Saipolamin appeared for the attorney-general.

Lawyer Datuk Baljit Singh Sidhu (centre) speaks to reporters outside the courtroom at the Kuala Lumpur High Court Complex February 29, 2024. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
Lawyer Datuk Baljit Singh Sidhu (centre) speaks to reporters outside the courtroom at the Kuala Lumpur High Court Complex February 29, 2024. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

Today, some of the pensioners involved in the lawsuit attended court proceedings, and later held up placards outside the courtroom while Baljit was speaking to the media.

The placards that they held up included messages asking for fairness for pensioners and for the prime minister to help defend their rights for their pension amount to be adjusted, and to appreciate the contributions of pensioners to the country, and asking for the Federal Court’s June 27, 2013 decision to be abided by.

On January 12, former civil servant Aminah Ahmad, who is suing in her own capacity and on behalf of another 56 retired members of the public service, filed the court case in the High Court in Kuala Lumpur against the government of Malaysia and the public services director-general.

In a court document filed as part of the lawsuit, the former civil servants explained that amendments were made in 2013 to the Pensions Adjustment Act 1980, which resulted in a change in the formula used to calculate their monthly pensions, describing this as the “post-2013 formula”.

The difference was that the “pre-2013 formula” would mean that the retirees’ pension amount would go up whenever still-serving government employees’ salaries are increased, while the “post-2013 formula” meant the retirees’ pension amount would receive a fixed increment of two per cent every year.

The government retirees said that the “post-2013 formula” would actually cause them to receive less pension as compared to the “pre-2013 formula”.

Aminah previously succeeded at the Court of Appeal which had on January 13, 2022 gave a judgment which effectively revived the pre-2013 formula and cancelled the post-2013 formula, and at the Federal Court which had in a June 27, 2023 decision upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision.

Following those previous two court victories, Aminah and the other 56 pensioners claim that they were entitled since January 13, 2022 — the date of the Court of Appeal decision — to be paid pensions amount calculated using the pre-2013 formula.

The retired civil servants also said their pensions should be calculated and adjusted based on the pre-2013 formula from January 13, 2022 onwards (the Court of Appeal’s decision date), as they insisted that there had been adjustments to the salary of existing government employees in 2013 or onwards.

Read here for more about this case.

The placards that they held up included messages asking for fairness for pensioners and for the prime minister to help defend their rights for their pension amount to be adjusted, and to appreciate the contributions of pensioners to the country, and asking for the Federal Court’s June 27, 2013 decision to be abided by. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
The placards that they held up included messages asking for fairness for pensioners and for the prime minister to help defend their rights for their pension amount to be adjusted, and to appreciate the contributions of pensioners to the country, and asking for the Federal Court’s June 27, 2013 decision to be abided by. ― Picture by Hari Anggara