Malaysia can chart 1% growth to GDP if retirees return to workforce

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 10): Malaysia can reap the benefit of the third demographic dividend, which could see a growth of a minimum of 1% to the gross domestic product (GDP), if retirees return to the workforce.

Malaysia's ageing population stood at 9.5% in 2016 and is expected to hit 15% by 2030, said Universiti Malaya's Social Security Research Centre (SSRC)'s Old Age Financial Protection chairholder Professor Naohiro Ogawa.

"The GDP growth is based on minimum wage calculations. We believe retirees are a major source of workforce who can be reemployed not only into their old jobs, but also in other less demanding ones," he said.

He noted that it is pertinent that Malaysia harnesses the benefit of retired persons from the age 60 and above, if it wants to see continued economic growth.

"Fertility rate is dropping in Malaysia and life expectancy is increasing. The country can only enjoy the benefits or contribution to the economy from the current working group, which is aged up to 60, till 2029 only," he said.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of SSRC's third international conference on social protection themed 'Migration, Development and Social Welfare: Implications and New Insights', Naohiro said the continuous improvement of health of the ageing population, particularly those in the 60s and 70s, meant that their potential return to the workforce was high.

Naohiro is leading the study in SSRC on the third demographic dividend that would be presented to the federal government soon.