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WORK TILL 60: Bill covering private sector employees tabled in Parliament
KUALA LUMPUR: THE government yesterday tabled a bill — Minimum Retirement Age Bill — to raise the minimum retirement age for private sector workers to 60.
Tabling the bill, Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the new age limit would, however, not apply to temporary or contractual workers, those on probation, apprentices, non-citizens and domestic maids.
The current minimum retirement age for most private sector workers is 55 but no mandatory retirement age has been set unlike in the public sector.
The retirement age for the public sector has already been raised to 60.
The bill proposed that any differing retirement age made in a previous contract or agreement would be deemed void and substituted with the new minimum age of 60.
The bill states that employers who prematurely retired their employees were liable to a fine of up to RM10,000.
Premature retirement does not include optional retirement and termination of contract of service for any reason other than on the grounds of age.
Under the bill, those who are prematurely retired by the employer have the option to complain in writing to the director-general of the Labour Department, within 60 days of the retirement date. The director-general will then conduct an inquiry.
Any questions of law will be referred to the High Court. Any person dissatisfied with the director-general’s decision can also appeal to the High Court.
The director-general will have the power to call up any person to appear before him for investigation and request for any related documents.
In consideration of those who may want to retire early, the bill provides for optional retirement, as agreed to in their earlier contracts.
Currently, Malaysia is the only country in Southeast Asia with a retirement age of below 60. The retirement age in Indonesia and Thailand is 60, while in Singapore, it is 62.
When the proposal to raise the minimum retirement age for private sector workers was first raised, Dr Subramaniam had said it was odd to retire a 55-year-old worker who was still able to contribute to society.
Dr Subramaniam had also said that many countries had increased their retirement age to 65 or 66. Saying it was a global trend and people were getting healthier, Dr Subramaniam had also said a 55-year-old was still considered young these days. Additional reporting by Nooradilla Nurazam