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Old-Age Financial Protection in Malaysia: Challenges and Options

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  • Holzmann, Robert

    () (University of New South Wales)

Abstract

This policy paper presents key findings and suggestions on Malaysia's old-age financial protection system within the context of the country's broader social security framework. The trademark policy approach focusing on job creation instead of expanding social security programs served the country well to move it quickly to a high-middle income level. But to join the club of high-income countries in a sustainable manner may require the country to review its approach to social security, including the way old-age income support is provided, and to address the main current weaknesses: fragmentation across economic sectors, lack of an enabling political environment, incomplete benefit coverage, low mandated savings level, and inadequate disbursement options given the challenges of projected population aging and socioeconomic shifts. To address the old-age financial protection challenge, the paper outlines two key options for Malaysia's Employees Provident Fund, the country's central pension pillar: (i) moving from a mere retirement savings investment fund to a fully-fledged pension fund that offers some minimum annuities; or (ii) more radically, moving the benefits toward a Non-Financial Defined Contribution scheme with the fund's resources used as its major reserve fund. Whatever approach is considered, the reform discourse would benefit from changes in the overall governance structure of social security and from a comprehensive research agenda that offers an evidence based decision making.

Suggested Citation

  • Holzmann, Robert, 2015. "Old-Age Financial Protection in Malaysia: Challenges and Options," IZA Policy Papers 96, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izapps:pp96
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Robert Holzmann & David A. Robalino & Noriyuki Takayama, 2009. "Closing the Coverage Gap : The Role of Social Pensions and Other Retirement Income Transfers," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2651, July.
    2. Robert Holzmann & Steen Jørgensen, 2001. "Social Risk Management: A New Conceptual Framework for Social Protection, and Beyond," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 8(4), pages 529-556, August.
    3. Menahem E. Yaari, 1965. "Uncertain Lifetime, Life Insurance, and the Theory of the Consumer," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(2), pages 137-150.
    4. Richard Hinz & Robert Holzmann & David Tuesta & Noriyuki Takayama, 2013. "Matching Contributions for Pensions : A Review of International Experience," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 11968, July.
    5. Milan Vodopivec, 2013. "Introducing unemployment insurance to developing countries," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-23, December.
    6. Rofman, Rafael & Oliveri, Maria Laura, 2012. "Pension coverage in Latin America : trends and determinants," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 70926, The World Bank.
    7. Holzmann, Robert & Koettl, Johannes & Chernetsky, Taras, 2005. "Portability regimes of pension and health care benefits for international migrants: an analysis of issues and good practices," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 32750, The World Bank.
    8. Holzmann, Robert & Koettl, Johannes, 2011. "Portability of Pension, Health, and Other Social Benefits: Facts, Concepts, Issues," IZA Discussion Papers 5715, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Sudhir Rajkumar & Mark C. Dorfman, 2011. "Governance and Investment of Public Pension Assets : Practitioners' Perspectives," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2553, July.
    10. Margaret Grosh & Carlo del Ninno & Emil Tesliuc & Azedine Ouerghi, 2008. "For Protection and Promotion : The Design and Implementation of Effective Safety Nets," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6582, July.
    11. Brown, Jeffrey R. & Mitchell, Olivia S. & Poterba, James M. & Warshawsky, Mark J., 2001. "The Role of Annuity Markets in Financing Retirement," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262529130, January.
    12. Robert Holzmann & Richard Hinz, 2005. "Old Age Income Support in the 21st century: An International Perspective on Pension Systems and Reform," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7336, July.
    13. Donghyun Park & Sang-Hyop Lee & Andrew Mason (ed.), 2012. "Aging, Economic Growth, and Old-Age Security in Asia," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 15088.
    14. Robert Holzmann & Johannes Koettl, 2015. "Portability of Pension, Health, and Other Social Benefits: Facts, Concepts, and Issues," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 61(2), pages 377-415.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Employees Provident Fund; social security; reform options; annuities;

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination

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