M’sians face chal­lenge in sus­tain­ing re­tire­ment life

> Pro­fes­sor cites higher life ex­pectancy, says age­ing pop­u­la­tion also a se­ri­ous prob­lem

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ - BY LEE WENG KHUEN

KUALA LUMPUR: With higher life ex­pectancy, Malaysians will find dif­fi­culty in sus­tain­ing their re­tire­ment life, said Prof Dr Jomo Kwame Sundaram, who is the third holder of the Tun Hus­sein Onn Chair at the In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies at In­sti­tute of Strate­gic and In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies (ISIS) Malaysia.

“This is a very se­ri­ous chal­lenge if life ex­pectancy con­tin­ues to rise. So we need to ap­ply our­selves to this chal­lenge and have a va­ri­ety of pos­si­ble op­tions to work on,” he said in his key­note ad­dress at the Khaz­anah Me­ga­trends Fo­rum 2016 here yes­ter­day.

Ac­cord­ing to data from Khaz­anah Re­search In­sti­tute: State of Malaysian House­holds 2 Re­port, the av­er­age Em­ploy­ees Prov­i­dent Fund sav­ings of a 51to 55-year-old of RM159,952 would, at the cur­rent rates of in­ter­est and in­fla­tion, only last 15.6 years if he or she draws a poverty line in­come ev­ery month.

“You will find the EPF sav­ings would not be able to sus­tain for more than 16 years at poverty level,” he said.

Mean­while, Jomo said the age­ing pop­u­la­tion is also a se­ri­ous prob­lem to the coun­try and that the gov­ern­ment has to relook cur­rent pol­icy.

“But right now, we’re kind of stuck in the sys­tem which has not changed, partly be­cause we don’t get to ad­dress the fun­da­men­tal pop­u­la­tion is­sue,” he noted.

He de­clined to com­ment on calls by cer­tain quar­ters to ex­tend the re­tire­ment age to 62 from 60 years old.

“I don’t want to get into very spe­cific dis­cus­sion. I think the im­por­tant thing is to recog­nise that a lot of work­ers in this coun­try are not even recog­nised in the coun­try,” he said, not­ing that the gov­ern­ment needs to se­ri­ously look at the il­le­gal for­eign worker is­sue.

Jomo de­liv­er­ing his ad­dress at the Khaz­anah Me­ga­trends Fo­rum 2016.

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