Yusuf, Mazlynda Md
Women and pensions in Malaysia: assessing the impacts of disruptions in working life.
University of Southampton, School of Social Sciences,
Population ageing is a global phenomenon and occurring most rapidly in countries in Asia, which have experienced a rapid decline in fertility and mortality. Malaysia is one such country. The increase in life expectancy along with a rising cost of living has meant that many elderly women are exposed to the risk of poverty in later life. This is also due to the inability of the current pension system in Malaysia to recognise interruptions during employment. In the West, there has been extensive research highlighting how living longer combined with an early retirement age and having disruptions during employment years may lead to an inadequate retirement income and affect the quality of life during retirement. Such research is lacking in the Malaysian context. This research therefore investigated the effectiveness of Malaysia’s current pension system to deliver an adequate income in retirement, taking into account the differences in life course experienced by women, particularly interrupted work histories as a result of care-taking responsibilities as well as differences in educational level. This study used a hypothetical simulation model – MHYRISA (Malaysian Hypothetical Retirement Income Simulation Analysis) model to simulate different scenarios. The findings suggest that women with gaps and disruptions during employment will not be able to maintain their standard of living in later life under the present pension system due to the low replacement rate level generated. The findings also suggest that the current retirement age and contribution rate should be increased and also reconsidering the pre-retirement withdrawals policy in order to provide an adequate retirement income during old age. The government should also consider providing a pension credit contribution to women who are unemployed due to care-taking responsibilities, so that they are lifted out of poverty during old age.
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