It is most unfortunate that Mahathir did not make public the reasons why the Cabinet decided not to increase the retirement age.
The MCA, Gerakan and MIC Presidents, who are all above 55 years, should publicly explain their Cabinet position to oppose the raising of the retirement age of civil servants from 55 to 60 years.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik is 57, Primary Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik is 61 and Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu is 64. The SUPP Minister for Science, Technology and Environment, Datuk Law Hieng Ding is 65. And the Prime Minister is 74.
Can they explain why they are opposed to the raising of the retirement age from 55 to 60 when they themselves and two-thirds of the Cabinet would have to be dropped if the 55-year rule applies to the Cabinet!
Malaysia is going against the world trend to raise the retirement age with a better life expectancy and improved health facilities.
Of the seven major industrialized nations, the United States, Germany, and Canada set normal retirement age at 65 for both men and women. In the other countries, the retirement age is lower. In the case of the United Kingdom, men have a retirement age of 65 while women can retire at 60.
The United States first introduced the standard retirement age 65 years ago in 1935 when the Social Security Act established 65 as the minimum age at which retirement benefits can be obtained. Since 1956, women have had the option to take reduced benefits at age 62, and since 1961, this option has also been available to men. In 1983, a gradual increase in the normal retirement age to 67 was enacted and there is active debate for it to be raised to 70 years.
The retirement age in Asian countries have also been raised: Singapore (62), Thailand (60) and India (58).
When the British in the colonial times in the 1950s fixed the retirement age of 55 for civil servants in Malaya, the retirement age in the United Kingdom was already fixed at 65 for men and 60 for women.
It was probably the typical product of White Manís superiority complex, motivated by two factors, to allow the British civil servants the excuse to return home at 55 while having utter contempt for the locals as having the ability to continue in productive service after this age.
This is a form of neo-colonialism which Malaysians should liberate themselves from especially as with better health care and medical services, the average life expectancy of Malaysians is 72 years.