KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 -- Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today assured that civil servants currently in service and has confirmed their status in the pension scheme will continue to receive the benefits of the scheme.
He said retirement benefits enjoyed by civil servants were protected as set out under Article 147 of the Federal Constitution, namely securing the rights of pensioners, and regulated through the Pensions Act 1980 (Act 227) and the Statutory and Local Authorities Pensions Act 1980 (Act 239).
"Giving retirement benefits to government pensioners is an acknowledgment and recognition of the contribution of civil servants throughout their service," Dr Mahathir said.
He was responding to Datuk Seri Dr Ismail Mohamed Said's (BN-Kuala Krau) question on the current status of the proposal to implement the improved Contract Appointment Scheme to replace the Permanent and Pensionable Appointment Scheme in the public service.
Although the government is facing challenges in financing retirement benefits due to the increasing number of retirees, Dr Mahathir said the government was taking steps to look at new mechanisms to ensure that the government's burden could be reduced and that civil servants would not lose out after retirement.
Dr Mahathir said the government intended to continue the Permanent and Pensionable Appointment Scheme, but the country's tax collection was insufficient to finance the rising cost of pension funding.
At the same time, he said, the government was also aware of the rising unemployment problem among university graduates after the retirement age among existing workers was increased to 60 years.
“It is true that since retirement age was increased, job vacancies decreased. We cannot employ new civil servants, so we are seeing more unemployment.
"But we would like to see these unemployed individuals either working in the private sector or starting a business," he said.
He was responding to additional questions raised by Ismail about the government's move to keep unemployment rates down, as well as measures to ensure that the 50,000 contract workers in the civil service sector could be absorbed permanently.