Letter to editor
I AM willing and prepared to forgo my pension as a MP. However, I will not be able to stomach seeing civil servants especially personnel in the lower ranks being forced into the same situation.
Any government policy requires deep research before implementation, in particular, its impact on the common layperson and not abrupt announcements which cause unnecessary confusion and anxieties.
Moreover, by end-2022, 51.5% of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contributors under the age of 55 or nearly 6.7 million people had less than RM10,000 in their accounts.
On Wednesday (Jan 24), Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the government will phase out the traditional pension scheme and new public sector hires will contribute to EPF instead.
It should be noted that most of these civil servants serve our nation and citizens by executing their responsibilities in their respective government ministries, departments and agencies. Unfailingly, they also serve over a long period of time, usually stretching decades.
The DPM’s statement comes as a stunner that aren’t civil servants already given the option to either select the pension scheme or contribute towards the EPF?
I recognise and comprehend that our nation’s financial constraints pose difficulties against the government today. However, this cannot be conveniently deployed as an excuse to penalise the rakyat, including civil servants via policies which in my opinion can be avoided.
Spiralling living cost
Furthermore, the slew of new taxes commencing this year also affect civil servants. Listed among the new taxes are that (i) the sales and service tax (SST) has been raised from 6% to 8%; (ii) electricity tariff will go up by 5% for M40 households; (iii) digital services tax increases from 6% to 8% while (iv) traditional and complementary medicine (TC&M) services are slapped with an 8% SST.
Meanwhile, the expected withdrawal of subsidies for RON95 petrol and diesel in 1H 2024 will also fuel an escalation in the cost of living.
MCA has repeatedly recommended to the government to reinstate the GST (goods and services tax) to help generate revenue for the country which would then be returned to the rakyat.
A name change has also been advocated as an alternative should the current government eschew acknowledging the success of the Barisan Nasional (BN) government or being seen as U-turning. What matters is that the tax system must be transparent and fair like the GST.
These pressing scenarios highlighted above are the real causes as to what is happening to our country and leaving adverse impacts on our citizens. – Jan 26, 2024
Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng is MCA vice-president and MP for Tanjung Piai.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.