He said in Putrajaya that the Cabinet had reasons for deciding not to increase the retirement age but he did not elaborate on the reasons.
He said: "However, if anybody has valid reasons as to why there is a need to increase the retirement age which the Cabinet had not looked at, we are willing to hear them.
"But whether their reasons would justify an increase in the retirement age for civil servants is another matter."
It is most unfortunate that Mahathir did not make public the reasons why the Cabinet decided not to increase the retirement age, as this is a matter of public interest which should be made known to all Malaysians, as it is not a private matter concerning only Cabinet Ministers or between the Cabinet and CUEPACs.
May be the Prime Minister was too busy finalising plans for his three-week vacation/working trip overseas to have the time to give proper explanation as to the reasons why Cabinet rejected the CUEPACS proposal to raise the retirement age of civil servants.
Mahathir departed from the KL International Airport at 1.05 am. this morning for a two-week vacation in Argentina and the Caribbean which will be followed by a week-long working trip to Davos, Switzerland and he would only return to Malaysia on Feb. 3, 2000.
As Mahathir did not have the time to properly explain the reasons why the Cabinet decided to maintain the 55-year retirement age, the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi should do so.
Abdullah should not find any difficulty to explain the Cabinet reasons
for this decision, as he was formerly a top civil servant before entering
politics - although I doubt the four MCA Ministers could explain why they
voted in Cabinet against the raising of the retirement age for civil
servants from 55 years to 60 years, apart from being told to do so.
DAP calls for a nation-wide debate on the pros and cons of raising the retirement age from 55 to 60 so as to reach a national consensus on the issue. For a start, Abdullah should direct the Public Services Department to declassify and to make public its recommendation to the Cabinet on the issue.