KOTA KINABALU: Sabah public sector pensioners are in for better times as the state government will enhance their welfare through several new initiatives.
This includes a special annual allocation of RM100,000 to the Sabah Government Retirement Association, to facilitate the implementation of its programmes and activities, said Chief minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.
He said the allocation was one of four new initiatives for pensioners which is evidence of the state government's concern for their well-being.
Three other initiatives, he said, were the first additional Special Financial Assistance to retirees amounting to RM150, which will be contributed to the i-Saraan account under the Employees' Provident Fund (EPF).
"The second initiative Sabah government will approve is an increase in the maximum amount of Rest Compensatory Leave (GCR) from 160 days to 180 days from next year, in line with the announcement by the Prime Minister of Malaysia in conjunction with the 18th Civil Service Premier Gathering (MAPPA XVIII).
"The third initiative is that the government will provide offices for retirees in several districts to be identified soon," he said at the Appreciation ceremony for the retired government servants at Sabah International Convention Centre here.
This was the first time such a ceremony was held on a large scale to celebrate 1,167 pensioners from various grades who retired between 2019 and 2021.
Hajiji said in order to safeguard the welfare of retirees as an important asset, the government has also improved medical treatment facilities which have been extended for parents of pensioners and EPF scheme retirees through a circular dated Feb 15, 2021.
According to him, the calculation of retirement benefits for officers who retire because of health reasons has also been improved by adding the service period of retirement benefits.
He said the government had also approved an increase in the maximum amount of Rest Compensatory Leave (GCR) from 150 days to 160 days, and the authorisation of early redemption of the GCR award of 80 days from January 2022.
"This increase in the maximum amount will benefit state civil servants who are about to retire. The increase in the maximum rate of GCR, allows the leave to be saved for cash awards, which will increase the amount of cash received during retirement later," he added.
Hajiji said the title as a government pensioner opens a new episode and chapter for pensioners to contribute in whatever way they can to the community by using their experience and knowledge while working in the public service.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister also highlighted that the state government has formulated Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) direction, the framework of the state's main development plan to support various sectoral development blueprints that will move in tandem with the national development agenda under the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030.
"We want all parties to understand the direction of SMJ. The fact is SMJ is our common direction, just as the state coat of arms is the right and property of all Sabah citizens. I hope that civil service retirees also help to make this development agenda a success, especially by sharing skills and expertise."
Hajiji said the state government was also in the final stages of finalising negotiations with the Federal Government regarding the review of special grants to Sabah under Article 112(D) of the Federal Constitution.
"We are confident that this negotiation will provide an increase in the amount of special grants at a significant rate, thus helping to increase the state's revenue.
"We also aim to increase state revenue through the exploration of new resources, investment initiatives and various other economic activities through payments such as taxes, land premiums and royalties".
He also said that Sabah could expect to collect royalties and SST payments from the oil and gas sector in the range of RM2.45 billion per year continuously.