10 November 2004
Older people should work longer for less money, Singapore’s ageing population has been told.
The official retirement age in the city-state is 62, but Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding father, said he was working on a scheme to allow workers to remain in employment. However, because their strength and energy would be less, the pay would be lower.
Mr Lee, 81, still sits in the cabinet, with the title of minister mentor, and retains huge influence in the government, which is headed by his son, Lee Hsien Loong.
“I’ve been lucky,” he said. “My father lived to 90-plus and I don’t abuse my body unnecessarily. So if I had to retire at 62, it’s a dead loss.”
Singapore’s birth rate is at an all-time low. On current trends, the number of over-65s will quadruple by 2030, threatening the economy.
Mr Lee pointed out that medical costs, which must be met by individuals or through insurance, rise with age and working for longer would allow people to build up more savings.