Employers including the government must tap on trained, able and willing human resources, thereby freeing Malaysians from the ‘retirement’ mindset, writes JD Lovrenciear.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad has not only set a new national benchmark but also planted thoughts in the global community of how age need not be an obstacle in being productive in our chosen commitments.
At 93, Mahathir globe-trots, takes on hard questions and is leading a nation that is in the deepest pits of social, economic, environmental and political disorder.
While many Malaysians admire this man, it is time our policymakers quickly go back to the drawing board in formulating policies on retirement.
Given our fast-aging population, with an estimated 13 million retirees in the making, the country needs to fast-track and postpone the retirement age to 65 if not 70 for a start.
We even have security forces personnel forced to retire in their forties. Able, trained and patriotic men and women are left to pasture, adding to the wastage of human capital.
Parents whose children have grown up and left home for economic reasons are finding it hard to find rewarding jobs that can help them to stay active and healthy and make better use of their time and strength.
If you take our national business community’s penchant for relying on foreign labour under the ill-conceived BN mantra that Malaysians do not want to do the ‘dangerous and dirty’ jobs, we will find increasing numbers of Malaysians going jobless.
Already the various business enterprises from import-export to wholesale and even skills-related jobs like operating tailoring outfits and cooking are being taken over by migrant workers.
The country is plunging fast as it pawns its local human capital in exchange for fast bucks using the entrenched ruse that Malaysians are lazy.
If Mahathir can rise to the challenge and serve this nation of 30 million people at the age of 93, it is time to reinvigorate our national policies and national will and purge this country of the greed, profiteering and short-term self interest.
We need to enable all Malaysians to have access to job options, business opportunities, and the means to remain productive and healthy. Hopefully the media can play its part to put the pressure on.
NGOs must focus more on getting policymakers to crack the whip to help reconfigure our socio-economic road map and not just being solely obsessed with political liberation.
The business community in particular must be told that profiteering at the expense of the long-term Malaysian human capital while employers resort to cheap migrant workers by the millions is a betrayal of this nation.
Employers including the government must tap on trained, able and willing human resources, thereby freeing Malaysians from the ‘retirement’ mindset that was deliberately planted by archaic policies of the past.