Syed Saddiq opposes raising retirement age, says priority should be for youths

Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman today rejected the suggestion by MTUC to raise the mandatory retirement age from 60 to 65, saying the priority should be to give young people jobs and for promotion based on merit, not age. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman today rejected the suggestion by MTUC to raise the mandatory retirement age from 60 to 65, saying the priority should be to give young people jobs and for promotion based on merit, not age. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 2 — Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman today rejected the suggestion by Malaysian Trade Unions Congress’ (MTUC) to raise the mandatory retirement age from 60 to 65, saying the priority should be to give young people jobs and for promotion based on merit, not age.

He was commenting on the suggestion made by MTUC for which Human Resource Minister M. Kulasegaran had said that the government will study the proposal first.

Syed Saddiq pointed out that Malaysian youth unemployment rate of 10.7 per cent is incomparable to developed countries such as Japan (3.9 per cent) and Singapore (5.9 per cent).

“Because of it (unemployment rate) we need to focus on giving quality employment opportunities to the youths first. At the same time, we must make sure that the youths are given promotion.

“They possess skills, visions and should be given as much space as possible, not trying to impair their abilities,” he said in a video posted on his Twitter account today.

Syed Saddiq, who is also the youngest ever Minister at 26-years-old, also said he had spoken to Kulasegaran, who had explained to him that the proposal to increase the retirement age is merely a suggestion and that nothing has been decided.

“I have called the Human Resource Minister and he explained that this is merely a suggestion from MTUC and is not finalised,” he posted in a subsequent tweet.

Earlier today, Kulasegaran said the government is considering MTUC’s request and will have an in-depth discussion with the Finance Ministry.

He said the suggestion will be discussed in detail with the Finance Ministry before any decision was made.

“My ministry has given our views to the Finance Ministry on the matter, and thus in-depth discussions will be carried out soon,” he told reporters at a tree-planting event at D.R. Seenivasagam Park in Ipoh earlier today.

Yesterday, MTUC Secretary-General J. Solomon had proposed to increase the mandatory retirement age to 65 in its Budget 2020 proposals.

Solomon said the higher retirement age proposal is due to the lack of sufficient income to sustain retirement, even as the Malaysian lifespan is expected to increase in the future to 80 years on average.

MTUC also proposed an immediate introduction of a RM500 minimum monthly cost of living allowance (COLA) for all workers.

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