I READ with interest the article “New system an inconvenience to pensioners” in your newspaper, Borneo Bulletin dated December 6, 2014.
When I was first eligible to collect my pension money a year ago, I found it rather shocking that the payment system used was not only obsolete but time-consuming. Every month many pensioners like me would have to sit around for about two hours in front of the Ketua Kampong’s house to collect their pension money.
Before receiving pension money, a pensioner must submit his/her pension booklet for the Ketua Kampong to give a queuing number. This would take about an hour before a number is allocated. Next is waiting for our number to be called which would normally take about another hour.
If the Ketua Kampong is not available, for example engaged in other official function(s) on that day, then the pensioner would have to come back again the following day even though the queuing number is due. During the last Ramadhan month I had to come back to check with the Ketua Kampong four times before I could get my $250 pension money.
At collection point, ie receiving our pension money in the Ketua Kampong’s office, a pensioner has to register his/her thumb print on a long list of names, an exercise, in my view, is reminiscent of the 50s and 60s. Mind you, there are almost a thousand pensioners in my area alone.
My question is, whatever happened to the much publicised $800 million e-Government programme heralded in the media some years back?
Why do we now, 30 years after independence, have to go back to the 50s and 60s payment scenarios, when the global business community has already embraced electronic transfer of funds for many years now?
Don’t we have faith in the electronic system used by banks, finance companies, insurance companies, etc, used all over the world?
With the availability of IT experts and consultants in the country, a robust database of pensioners can readily be developed and managed to the benefit of all stakeholders. The existing data are already available on hand. The only difference is that these data are stored on papers and managed manually. In other words, processes would be slow and time-consuming.
As a pensioner, I believe it is time that the payment of pension money be made and managed by fund professionals. These people have better experience and exposure in this area of business activities. Such institutions have a far better infra-structure and more secure working environment compared with personal or residential buildings. Safe-keeping and managing a huge amount of cash under a residential roof should be a thing of the past.