Friday, March 16, 2012

PSD mulls pensioners' Cola plea

KUALA LUMPUR: The Public Service Department (PSD) is deliberating whether to fulfil pensioners' requests for an increase in cost of living allowance (Cola).

Its director-general, Tan Sri Abu Bakar Abdullah, said the department would be issuing a statement on the matter soon.

Following the prime minister's announcement that civil servants would be awarded a 13 per cent salary increase, the New Straits Times received letters from pensioners asking the government to increase their living allowances by RM50.

Cuepacs financial secretary Ja'apar Mansor said he supported the request but maintained reservations regarding its implementation. "I support the move, but realistically there's a total of about 500,000 pensioners, which is a very big number."

He said an increase of RM50 in the allowance, even for those still serving, already amounted to RM500 million.

Ja'apar said Cuepacs was focusing on getting the RM300 allowance to include those still serving in all areas, not just cities.

"Currently, the RM300 living allowance is only awarded to civil servants serving in the city while those in other places get either RM250 or RM150," he said.

Meanwhile, Senior Consumers Association president Captain Francis Kerk said the allowance needed to be increased to meet the rising cost of goods. "The current sum is too low to support the escalating prices of goods, which leaves them underpaid."

Kerk said the government should also consider allowing those who have reached the retirement age to continue serving if fit and healthy.

"The retirement age for the public sector should be increased further as many senior citizens are still fully capable of making a contribution.

"The number of foreign workers brought in can also be reduced, ensuring greater economic stability."

He said the private sector was not as stringent on the retirement age, and urged the government to do the same by providing jobs "suitable for senior citizens".

No comments: