Court rules doctor, 87, can work as long as he wishes

The Assunta Hospital has been at the centre of a dispute involving the Minimum Retirement Age Act 2012

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has ruled that a doctor at a private hospital can work as long as he wished as the minimum retirement age law is not applicable to him.

Judge Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid in allowing a judicial review by Dr Satwant Singh Gill, 87, said a Mother Mary Xavier from Assunta Hospital had given him an assurance in 1963 before he left government service to join the hospital.

“Section 4 of the Minimum Retirement Age Act 2012 does not apply to the applicant due to the assurance given,” the judge said.

Ahmad Kamal further held that the assurance was a finding of fact made by the High Court in another case involving Satwant and the hospital which was upheld by the Court of Appeal.

“The High Court in the present judicial review application is bound to follow the finding of fact,” he said.

Last year, the Industrial Court held that Satwant’s dismissal from employment by the hospital in 2016 was with just cause and excuse.

He commenced employment with the hospital, then known as Assunta Foundation under a contract of employment for three years as physician effective from July 1, 1963 .

In 1970, the hospital made him a permanent staff until 2016.

In 1988, the hospital introduced a retirement age policy at 60 but Satwant did not accept the terms.

He turned 60 on March 14,1993 and was forced to retire.

The dispute went to the Industrial Court which held in April 1997 that the dismissal was valid as he had reached 60 years of age.

Satwant then filed a judicial review application to the High Court in 1997 which ordered him to be reinstated with full back wages and without loss of any benefits.

That decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal the following year.

Again in 2015, the hospital terminated his employment upon him reaching 82 years of age following the government enacting a law that the mandatory retirement age of private sector employees is 60.

The hospital claimed Satwant was also unable to comply with his clinical services.

Again the matter went to the Industrial Court which ruled in favour of the hospital.

Sawant, represented by S Muhendaran and Chong Wan Loo, then filed a judicial review that resulted in today’s High Court ruling.