KUCHING: Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office (Integrity and Ombudsman) Datuk Talib Zulpilip shot down the idea of a golden handshake to replace the current pension scheme.

He was responding to a suggestion by academician Abu Sofian Yaacob of Universiti Putra Malaysia who viewed that such a system would soften the blow to government coffers which currently spends RM28 billion annually on pensions.

Talib suggested that those who mooted the idea of the one-off payment ought to do it to themselves first.

He cautioned that if abolishment of the current pension system is in order, a lot of factors must be taken into account.

Talib Zulpilip

“There are implications ranging from welfare, tradition, legislation, contract, economic and demographic among others,” said Talib when contacted by New Sarawak Tribune yesterday.

He pointed out that the current scheme is part of the nation’s tradition and of many other countries.

“Should it be abolished or improved?” he asked.

When comparing pension scheme to the golden handshake, the minister questioned whether a one-off payment would fulfil the needs of an ageing population.

“People now live longer and the value of money tends to shrink over the years. This is an economic reality,” he said.

“Can a one-off payment deal with this situation? No, but at the moment, pensions are adjusted for inflation.”

Talib also was of the view that there are insufficient homes and facilities to take care of the ageing population.

“We must look into the concept of universal old age benefits. Not only pension for civil servants but old age benefits for all citizens. This is more equitable and humane,” he said.