Gerakan calls on government to formulate National Policy on Senior Citizens Cheah Soon Hai: Taking care the seniors is equally important as promoting youth development

Press statement by

  

Gerakan Deputy President

  

Dato’ Dr Cheah Soon Hai

  

February 11, 2017

  

 

Gerakan Deputy President, Dato’ Dr Cheah Soon Hai has voiced his support for the Private Aged Healthcare Facilities and Services Bill proposed by the Health Ministry to ensure minimum standards are met for private entities providing care for the aged. He said the introduction of the Bill is timely and necessitated in view of a revelation by Department of Statistics which indicated Malaysia is to become an ageing population country by 2040 with 6 million Malaysians will be 65 years old and above, and the population growth will decline from 1.8% (2010) to 0.8% by 2040. It was also reported that Malaysia would achieve the status of an ageing nation when 14.5% of the population consisted of those aged 65 and above by 2040, compared to only 5% in 2010.

 

Cheah said apart from the proposed Bill, it is increasingly important that the government formulates a National Policy on Senior Citizens to protect and help the seniors. It would enable the growth of the elderly population of the country to be met with institutionalised policy, framework and mechanism. He also pointed out that many factors have put extra strain on the issue of an ageing population such as retirement crisis, inflation, low-wage jobs, health issues, improper planning, and the recent financial instability. He said it further spells the need to draft a national policy targeted specifically at senior citizens.  

  

“As we are facing the prospect of becoming an ageing nation by 2040, it is imperative that the government is keeping with assurances to older persons by making effective provision for securing the right to public assistance in cases of old age as well as ensuring social security benefits are extended to seniors,” said Cheah.

 

Cheah said Gerakan calls on the government to consider establishing a Department for Senior Citizens under the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development as part of the newly mooted National Policy on Senior Citizens. He said it is important to ensure public institutions and services are planning and preparing to support and serve an ageing Malaysian population in 20 years’ time.

  

Cheah also proposed that a National Council for Senior Citizens similar to the Malaysian Youth Council be established under the proposed National Policy for Senior Citizens to highlight senior-oriented issues, promote the wellbeing of seniors and advise the government on policy advocacy.

  

“The government should be praised for taking a proactive stand in addressing ageing issues, we in Gerakan feel that taking care the seniors is equally important in promoting youth development, we will form a study group and engage related NGOs in seeking more ideas which would be presented to the government, we believe through active participation in policymaking would give senior citizens a realistic hope on their ‘Golden years’ and not just a mirage,” said Cheah.

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