It has been a tough exercise in frugality for pensioner Sidek Salleh, 57, to stretch his RM800 pension to make ends meet every month.
He carefully budgets RM400 for rental, RM200 for groceries, RM100 for utilities and saves RM100 for emergencies.
With four children to feed, he is forced to supplement his income by doing odd jobs such as cutting grass.
So it was with a sense of relief that he heard the good news about the two percent annual pension adjustment for the country’s 600,000 government retirees announced during the 2012 Budget recently.
Thanking the government for caring, Sidek said to Bernama here, “I see it as a blessing. Even though its only two percent per annum, it’s better than nothing. I hope if its possible, it could be adjusted again in the future.”.
Sidek, a retired policeman said it proved the government appreciated and acknowledged the retirees contribution to the nation.
“The pension is a great help but there are a lot of expenses. Our lives would improve a bit when the government also makes the special payment to pensioners when civil servants get their year-end bonus. We can breathe easier then,” he added.
Another retiree who wanted to be known only as Mustafa, 60, also welcomed the pension adjustment, which is affective 2013 onwards.
“It’s very good. Every year it’s increased by two percent, I’m happy. It can help ease my family’s financial burden. Thank you to the government for not neglecting the pensioners,” he said to Bernama.
Retiree Major (R) Mohd Yusof Ahmad, 62, considers the adjustment as meaningful for pensioners, even though others may feel it is too little.
He said the first time adjustment showed that the government really cared and always found ways to help pensioners improve their quality of life, especially now with the high cost of living.
“The army pensioners are thankful for the government’s caring attitude because at least now we can see an increase in our pension and not just the static amount we used to receive in the past,” he added.
He believed it was possible for the Barisan Nasional government to adjust the scheme again in the future to match the cost of living.
During the tabling of the 2012 Budget recently, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak said the government was constantly concerned about the financial burden of pensioners and with the New Public Service Pension Scheme, more than 600,000 government retirees stood to benefit from the RM600 million allocated for the adjustment.
The Prime Minister also announced that effective 2013 the government would implement an immediate two percent per annum pension adjustment.