Saturday, October 13, 2012


Front page of the New Straits Times (13 Oct 2012)

Here we go again. Sigh. Clarification needed one more time.

In Malaysia, the term 'pensioners' refers to retired civil servants, and 'pension' refers to a sum of money that the government pays each month to those who have retired from government service at the age of 55 (now extended to 60).

Pensioners do not include people who have retired from private companies. So it is misleading to say that "retirees earning more now...thanks to improvements to the pension scheme". In fact, if you were to ask private sector retirees, most of them will tell you they have nothing much to smile about.

(Above: Obama is reaching out to the middle class in his re-election campaign.)

There is no private pension at the moment. What private sector employees get when they retire is a lump sum withdrawal of their EPF (Employees Provident Fund) savings. That's it. Period. This amount (or whatever is left if partial withdrawals have already been made for medical expenses, children's education, etc) has to sustain them for all 10-20 years of retirement. The middle class who are not eligible for welfare, subsidies and handouts, are finding it a challenge to cope with the escalating cost of living.

Enough said. Just read earlier post "Pensioners get the cake, retirees get the crumbs".

If you can't read the small print, click here to read the full article.

Let's crunch some numbers.

Based on the National Population Census 2010, we have a population of 28.3 million. Of this number, 2.25 million are aged 60 and above.

Our civil service is 1.42 million strong. The number of pensioners now stands at 662,000. That means we have a total of 2,082,000 citizens who are grateful to the government for taking good care of them and their families.

The remaining 168,000 are retirees, but not pensioners. Excluding those from the lower income group who are eligible for financial assistance, this leaves only a small number of retirees from the middle income group who are unhappy with the government. They feel they have been neglected. Is this number too insignificant for the government to be concerned about in the bigger scheme of things?

What do all these numbers mean? What do they translate into?

Well, draw your own conclusions.

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