PETALING JAYA: MTUC has proposed for the government to introduce a minimum monthly RM500 cost of living allowance (COLA) for all workers and to increase the mandatory retirement age to 65 in Budget 2020.
Its secretary-general J. Solomon said it was the government’s responsibility to lower the cost of living to enable a decent living as commodity prices that went up never came down.
"The government must accept that Malaysians in the middle and lower income levels are unable to make ends meet and those with families are actually struggling.
"We are not asking for higher take-home wages, we are only asking for real wage," he said in a statement yesterday.
Solomon also urged the government to look into Bank Negara’s report which stated that a working bachelor in Kuala Lumpur would need a minimum of RM2,700 a month to have a decent lifestyle while a married couple with two children would need about RM6,500.
He noted that current salaries for many Malaysians were far below such an amount.
Solomon said the introduction of COLA would be an effective move to address the current income disparity and the low minimum wage, adding that this would strengthen the aggregate demand and boost economic growth.
As for a higher retirement age, MTUC cited a lack of sufficient income to sustain life after
retirement due to the expected increase in life expectancy in the future.
Solomon said a higher retirement age would boost Employees Provident Fund’s (EPF) savings for those in the lower income category and for senior citizens.
"We propose that the extension of retirement age be optional and at the same time the EPF withdrawal should also be optional at the age of 55 as the current practice.
"For those who withdraw at 55, they will still have continuous savings up to 65 years of age with the extension of the mandatory retirement age," he said.
Solomon said this was among the six proposals that it submitted to the government on Aug 26 for consideration for Budget 2020.
According to MTUC, the other proposals were for the introduction of human and workers' rights into the syllabus for secondary school students and tertiary education, enhancing accessibility to TVET programs and increasing collaboration between industries and TVET providers, providing security of tenure in employment for workers in facing the Industrial Revolution 4.0, and enhancing employees' welfare and better employment opportunities.
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