KUALA LUMPUR – The federal government will study the possibility of extending the retirement age for civil servants to 65, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim said today.

She indicated that the government is now open to the idea, but will have to consider the impact on the labour force, several news outlets reported.

“Though we accept the idea, we need to study it thoroughly.

“It won’t happen immediately. There has to be a lot of engagement and we still need to assess the current system,” she was quoted saying by The Star on its website.

The minister also said the government had received mixed feedback from civil servants on extending the retirement age.

“There are people who look forward to their retirement at age 60. On the other hand, younger workers would be affected, as they will have fewer opportunities to be promoted in the workplace,” The New Straits Times quoted her saying on its website.

Rohani noted that the current support structure, including the Employees Provident Fund, is still adjusting to the 2012 decision to raise the retirement age for government servants to the current 60 from 58.

National news agency Bernama also reported her saying that the Social Workers Bill ― shelved since 2010 due to resistance from some people — is expected to be tabled at the Dewan Rakyat sitting in July.

Worker groups have been calling the government to extend the civil service retirement age past 60 since last July.

Datuk Azih Muda president of the Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) suggested raising it to age 62, to enable experienced personnel to contribute their fullest to the country which is competing to be on par with developed nations.

He had pointed out that the government frequently hired back retired senior civil servants on a contract basis. He also argued that the government would not incur a high amount on pensions by extending the services of its workers.

According to Cuepacs, between 21,000 to 25,000 civil servants retire annually. There are roughly 1.6 million civil servants in the country who do not have savings because 60 per cent of their income is used to pay bank loans, for their children’s education and other expenses.

But Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sr Ali Hamsa has repeatedly rejected the idea, saying serving till 60 to be sufficient as it would allow new blood to enter the labour pool, which would otherwise be close to younger workers if there were no vacancies to fill.

– Malay Mail