91 year old pensioner fighting 39 years for pension

December 23rd, 2010 by poobalan | View blog reactions Leave a reply »
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I pity this old grandpa who’s been fighting for 39 YEARS to get a higher pension amount. However, I’m not sure if the pension authorities can arrange some leeway as it may open the floodgates for other pensioners to make claims. Grandpa have to get an official letter from his previous employers about his job status. Letters from ex-bosses in personal capacity won’t count. Problem is, we are looking at paper records which is few decades old. It most likely won’t be in existence due to various reasons like termite attack, destroyed in natural disaster, misplaced, not readable, lost etc.

I think many of us will admire his preseverance. I hope some in his ex-employers firms can help him.

From the Star:

For 39 years, a 91-year-old for-mer civil servant has been fighting for his pension rights and has vowed not to give up until his last breath.

M. Alagan from Kampung Raja Uda in Port Klang is a familiar face at the Pension Department for he has visited the office many since retiring in 1971.

Despite his appeals, Alagan claimed that the department had underpaid him on his monthly retirement benefits.

He said he had written numerous letters and submitted supporting documents and was unsuccessful in his bid to convince the department that he was being underpaid and deserved to be compensated.

Alagan alleged that the department had underpaid him by RM105 a month all these years on his pension.

Although he has been working as a high portal (portable) crane driver in Port Klang since 1956, he said, he was only receiving the salary of a low carriage crane driver until he retired in 1971.

“I was driving the high portal crane all my years of service after I was seconded by the then Malayan Railway Authority to Port Swettenham where I worked for the Port Swettehham Authority.

“Before this, I was working in Prai with the railway authority since 1938 when it was under the British India Company and I am considered a British subject,” he told The Star.

Alagan said he was an active trade unionist and responsible for staging the country’s first railway workers strike involving 4,000 workers in 1962.

He said the strike went on for 24 days and it was one of the longest in the country’s history and he felt that was the reason that he had been victimised by the government by not upgrading him accordingly.

Alagan said he was still an employee of the railway authority, during the time of his retirement, although he was working with the port then.

“Although I was given the high portal crane driver’s job, they did not pay me accordingly and I was still fighting to get rewarded after retiring from service,’’ he said.

Alagan said his monthly pension which started with RM255 had increased to RM720 now due to several salary adjustments carried out by the government over the past years.

However, he said, his pension had been reduced by RM105 per month due to the department’s failure to upgrade his pension to a high portal crane driver.

“Merely based on this simple calculation, I have been underpaid by not less than RM45,000 and it does not include the salary adjustments,’’ the father of six, who had kept with him a file, with a compilation of the correspondence between him and the pension department.

Alagan, who also had with him a certificate of competency as a first grade engine driver, said the document was a concrete evidence that he was a high portal crane driver.

He said he had written numerous letters and met pension department officers on many occasions and had been unsuccessful in his bid to get justice.

“Recently, I received the biggest blow to my struggle when my appeal with a supporting document from a former KTM deputy superintendent from Port Klang was also rejected by the department.

“In his written testimony, my former boss has confirmed that I had worked under him during his tenure between June 1963 and October 1969 and he also stated that my job required me to operate both the high portal crane and low carriage crane,’’ he said, adding that this appeal was forwarded in June this year.

With the supporting document from his former boss, a dejected Alagan, said he thought that he would be finally rewarded for his persistence and felt hurt when he received the news that his recent appeal was also rejected.

He said he was finding it hard to take the rejection especially after it took his family and him a lot of efforts and time to find his former boss.

“I am feeling sad but it does not mean that I have been defeated in my struggle. I have been on it for about 40 years and not going to stop here,’’ he said.

His struggle, Alagan said, was not solely aimed at getting himself rewarded but it was about justice for a sincere citizen of the country.

He said he had been unfairly treated and it was unacceptable that the government had failed to acknowledge and appreciate his service.

“I hope the department will reconsider its decision and I am confident that something positive will come from this open appeal,” he said.

As pointed by JPA (PSD) below, need to have the correct supporting documents:

The Public Service Department is unable to upgrade Alagan’s pension to a higher grade due to lack of information that the former Railway Authority employee was working as a high portal crane driver before retiring in 1971.

Its senior deputy director (development), Sadiah Abu Samah, said the department had not been provided with relevant documents by KTMB or the Port Klang Authority (KPA) to support Alagan’s claim.

Sadiah, who confirmed that Alagan had made several appeals since his retirement, said the department had contacted both the authorities and had not received any documents to prove Alagan’s claim.

“Without any proof on his appointment as a high crane driver, it will be impossible for us to increase his pension.

“We are more than willing to increase his pension and pay him his arrears from the date of his retirement only if there was documental evidence that he was a high portal crane driver,’’ she said.

Sadiah urged Alagan to prove to the department that he was working as a high portal crane driver by getting a letter from KTMB or KPA.

Without such a letter, she said, it was impossible for her department to do anything.

“I feel sorry for Alagan who has been involved in this struggle for almost 40 years and admire his grit. His file is the oldest in the pension department and we have not closed his case yet,’’ she said.

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