KUALA LUMPUR: The Securities Commission (SC) has joined the call of the government and authorities on the need to address the issue of the country’s ageing population coupled with the shortfall in retirement funds.
Citing the SC Capital Market Masterplan 3 launched on Sept 21, 2021, the ageing population issue is deeply concerning and, if not addressed, would become a serious social problem with political consequences.
Institute for Capital Market Research (ICMR) chairman Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid said Malaysia will be transformed from an ageing nation to an aged nation in just under 25 years, while it took France 115 years, Sweden 85 years and the United Kingdom 45 years to reach that state.
He explained that, unlike Malaysia, those countries had adequate time to develop and prepare by increasing per capital efficiency and gradually raising the retirement age.
“Even so, they are struggling and Malaysia will struggle even more if we do not address this matter urgently.Concurring with Munir, University of Hong Kong, Asia Global Institute distinguished fellow, Tan Sri Andrew Sheng opined that the problem with an ageing society is that retirement funding is never enough because of longer life expectancy.
“We have low retirement coverage, inadequacy and sustainability challenges, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, with withdrawal facilities from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) allowed for short-term immediate relief but with longer-term damaging effects,” he said.
He noted that on adequacy, 6.3 million people have less than RM10,000 in their EPF Account 1 as at June 2021.
“One long-standing cause of this lack of adequacy is the low wages in Malaysia.
“Even before the pandemic, Bank Negara had highlighted that income received by Malaysian employees does not commensurate with the value of output they produce.”
Munir added that up to 27% of households in the Klang Valley, for instance, earn below the “living wage”, which is the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet their basic needs.
Concurring with Munir, University of Hong Kong, Asia Global Institute distinguished fellow, Tan Sri Andrew Sheng opined that the problem with an ageing society is that retirement funding is never enough because of longer life expectancy.