Tourism Minister: Think rationally on proposal to abolish pension scheme as govt confronts RM120 bln burden by 2040

Tiong (third right) together with (from right) Dr Penguang, Henry and other distinguished guests tossing the "yee sang" to mark the Chinese New Year celebration at a hotel in Sibu on Jan 28, 2024. Photo credit: Dato' Seri Tiong King Sing's Facebook page

KUCHING, Jan 31: The people should look into the Federal government’s recent proposal to abolish civil service pension scheme from a rational and long-term perspective.

Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Dato Sri Tiong King Sing said it is crucial to recognise that the government will face a burden of RM120 billion in pension expenditure by 2040 if the new system involving increased contributions to retirement schemes like Employees Provident Fund (EPF) is not implemented.

He emphasised that a huge portion of the billions of ringgit in the annual budget, amounting to tens of billions of ringgit, is allocated to pay civil servants’ pension.

“If the review of the civil service pension system can allow our country more access to funds to support the disadvantaged, upgrade rural infrastructure, and implement development plans, among others, it will go a long way to create a bright future for all Malaysians. Then we should not speculate blindly on the relevant issues.

“I hope everyone can look at various issues from a more rational and long-term perspective. After all, reform is not just a slogan, but requires practical actions,” he said in a post shared on his social media on Monday (Jan 29).

Tiong, who is Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) president, highlighted this during the party’s Chinese New Year gathering at a hotel in Sibu on Sunday (Jan 28).

Noting the heated public discussions surrounding the proposal, he observed that some political leaders, both from the ruling and Opposition parties, have taken opportunity to exploit the issues and believe that the government should not make such reforms.

Tiong, who is also Bintulu member of Parliament (MP) and Dudong assemblyman, stressed the need for comprehensive thinking about the true meaning behind the reforms, particularly in the current stage of Malaysia’s economic transformation.

“If we want the country’s economic development to break through the bottleneck and boost our competitiveness on the international stage, it is inevitable to implement reforms as the times evolve.

“And of course it will take some time as any reform will go through a painful teething period before it can proceed smoothly and achieve the expected results,” he said.

He cautioned against being swayed by public opinion or opposing merely for the sake of opposition, without considering the long-term impact of the issue.

“I hope you will discuss it with us and share your opinions. Your voice is also a reference for PDP to make timely adjustments in the direction of politics, and equally if not more important, is to strengthen the quality of public services for the people,” he added.

PDP deputy president Datuk Henry Harry Jinep, PDP vice-president Datuk Dr Penguang Manggil, Meluan assemblyman Rolland Duat, Krian assemblyman Friday Belik and Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) president Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh were among those present. — DayakDaily