The 'goodies' for senior citizens aged 60 and above as mentioned in the PM's recent Budget Speech are really nothing much to shout about, unless you are a civil servant. For the rest of us, life goes on obladi oblada. Most likely we would have to have to tighten our belts another notch or two.
Outpatient registration fee at government clinics and hospitals is only Rm10, and it's only one-time. Waiving this is no big deal for most senior citizens. As for the 50% discount on LRT and Monorail fares, how many senior citizens especially those in their 70s and above do you see taking the trains? So how many will benefit from this discount?
Civil servants, on the other hand, can expect a windfall. First off, their retirement age has been raised to 60. This gives them an extra two years to continue drawing a salary and accumulate more savings. Their pension will also be increased by 2% effective 2013.
It boggles the mind to think of RM4 BILLION of taxpayers money going towards bonuses and assistive payments for 1.3 million civil servants.
Malaysia’s civil servants to population ratio was 4.68, in comparison to Indonesia’s 1.79, South Korea’s 1.85 and Thailand’s 2.06. The size of Japan’s civil service, he added, was similar to that of Malaysia’s despite having a population of over 120 million people.
Malaysia’s Prime Minister’s Department alone has 43,544 government servants as of last year, up from the 4,418 in 1981 and 25,332 during the Abdullah Administration.
When will ordinary retirees receive the same special treatment that the PM gives to government pensioners? Few retirees can claim to have adequate savings in their EPF to support them over the next 10-20 years. They too need generous goodies, not measly crumbs, from the government to help them cope with the rise in cost of living.
There's valid reason to be skeptical about promises made by the PM. Just two months after he announced the repeal of the Internal Security Act (ISA) effective March 2012, the police have used the Act to arrest 13 people in Tawau, Sabah.
Will the PM renege on his budget promises? Well, let's wait and see. January 2012 isn't that far away.