The former chairman of the political party ADPD, Carmel Cacopardo, has called for a legal challenge to the government’s latest decision to award a privileged service pension to a few elite persons occupying the role of permanent and cabinet secretaries within the public service.
Following revelations by The Shift that those occupying the top echelons of the public service are being paid a second privileged pension, Cacopardo insisted in his blog that this is discrimination and can be challenged in court by all other pensioners.
“This special treatment may be challenged in court so that everyone can get a decent pension,” he insisted, adding, “It is not acceptable that only a few privileged are being allowed to get a decent retirement package.”
Cacopardo said he hoped “an initiative to mount a challenge is taken as soon as possible.”
He did not state whether his party, the ADPD, or any other organisation, such as the National Association of Pensioners, will spearhead the initiative.
The Shift revealed how amendments were inserted in the Pensions Ordinance in 2019 through a rushed and hushed parliamentary approval so that all those occupying the post of permanent secretaries or cabinet secretary will become eligible for a second uncapped pension over and above their regular state pension.
Through this amendment, permanent secretaries and the cabinet secretary join MPs and judiciary members, who are, so far, the only public servants eligible for a second pension.
Although permanent secretaries are appointed through a Public Service Commission appointment, they are usually recommended on the personal initiative of the prime minister, amounting to an indirect political appointment.
Just a few years ago, privileged pension eligibility was also extended to all judges, magistrates, and attorney general posts to lure the best legal minds to join the judiciary.
Apart from receiving a ‘normal’ National Insurance pension, which in Malta is capped to a maximum of not more than €1,300 a month, the second pension is uncapped and is based on the full two-thirds of the current basic pay of the office-eligible pensioners retired from.
This increases yearly, over and above the annual cost of living adjustment.