Malaysian PM laughs off raising retirement age to 65

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says retiring at 60 is good enough and will avoid ‘’deadwood’’ in the workplace.
By: | September 5, 2019

A proposal to raise the national retirement age in Malaysia from 60 to 65 has been thrown out by its 94-year-old prime minister.

This week the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) urged the government to increase the mandatory retirement age to 65 years, in line with neighbouring countries. Singapore will raise its retirement age from 62 to 65 by 2030.

But PM Mahathir Mohamad told a media conference in Cambodia: “To me, retiring at 60 is good enough. If we are to set the retirement age at 65, the deadwood will be sitting on their chairs and others will not be able to sit there (via promotion)’’.

Instead, he wants to get more young people into the workforce. Talking about his own situation he added: “Don’t say that the prime minister is 94 and has yet to retire himself. Mine is not a case of not retiring, but being asked to come back to work’’.

Life expectancy is increasing around the world and governments are reacting by raising retirement ages. The average Malaysian can now expect to live until age 80. The MTUC responded by saying they were unhappy with the PM’s comments and that youth unemployment was unrelated to raising the retirement age.

In the region, China, Singapore and Indonesia have all announced plans to increase their minimum retirement ages to 65 and above.