Malaysia is one of Asia's biggest employers of foreign labour. But recently, cases of deaths, abuse and forced labour have come to light. What is going on? Who is protecting these migrant workers?
The Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) is urging the government to extend the same health care privilege to private sector employees upon retirement. Currently, pensioners from the public sector were given priority over retired private sector employees.
Private sector employees had also contributed to the development of the nation like paying their income tax and other form of indirect taxes during their productive years. They should not be marginalized or neglected once they have retired. We should value their services and one of the ways is to ensure their health care is taken care of during old age including specialist treatment.
The problem is that they may use their EPF to pay for their medical bills in private hospitals in case of a major surgery. The EPF is to sustain them after retirement but a recent report indicates only one in five contributors have enough money to tide them over when they were no longer employed. Retired employees will have one less problem to worry if their medical expenses were taken care of.
MTUC wants the government to look into this matter following revelation that only 22% of the 6.7 million EPF active contributors aged 54 years have sufficient savings of RM196,800 or more to sustain themselves during retirement. EPF Head of Strategy Management Department Balqais Yusoff said the other 78% of the contributors did not have the basic amount for their retirement years. She said of the total active EPF contributors, 65% had less than RM50,000 in their savings.
Where retirees will need at least RM820 a month in their retirement years, those who have RM50,000 in EPF can go on for five years only before their savings run out. MTUC agrees with Balqais that that RM820 is probably sufficient for grocery shopping. We also want the government to look into housing woes and also to ensure retired workers had sufficient funds to maintain themselves. As such, a new approach must be looked into by the government so that the welfare of retired private sector is not sidelined.
N. GOPAL KISHNAM
Address: Wisma MTUC,10-5, Jalan USJ 9/5T, 47620 Subang Jaya,Selangor | Tel: 03-80242953 | Fax: 03-80243225 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org