Welcome to the Social Wellbeing Research Centre (SWRC) at the Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya.
As an integral part of Malaysia’s most innovative university, SWRC has a vision of becoming the thought leader in social protection, engaging in teaching and conducting scientific research. Our mission is to contribute and strengthen the body of knowledge and applied research in social protection for the well-being of all. We act as a node for transforming research findings into initiatives for policy improvements and serve as a bridge between the academics and the society through collaborative efforts locally and internationally.
Malaysia is currently experiencing steady increase in the proportion of older people relative to the total population as a result of declining fertility and increasing life expectancy. The number of Malaysians aged 60 years and above is projected to reach 6.3 million in 2040 or about 20% of the total population. Ageing can entail multiple losses, including loss of work and inability to function physically, and decreased reliance on income from employment. For most people there are lingering concerns about having adequate financial resources after retirement to pull through old age.
As the country progresses and aspires to become a developed nation, we cannot afford to have any section of the society being marginalized. It is a major challenge to ensure that the rights to social wellbeing becomes a reality for everyone. Income security in old age entails a secure and affordable access to social services including health care and long-term care. Failure of the government to provide such protection may cause older people and their families to slide back into poverty. Therefore, universal protection becomes imperative to allow people a life of dignity. Understanding the dynamics impacting people’s retirement enables us to prepare and develop a strategy based on realistic expectations; whether it is to work longer, save more, or invest more astutely.
We have to be mindful that the current pension system may not be sustainable as increases in pension payouts caused by ageing population would eventually put a strain on government’s fiscal position. In Malaysia, we have a rich variety of institutions outside the public sector such as Retirement Fund Inc. / Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (Diperbadankan) (KWAP) and Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) and private pensions institutions performing social protection functions. Policy makers can make the best use of their potential without undermining the existing public pension systems which has been a foundation on which at least basic income security has been built. The existence of private pensions institutions should complement the government’s efforts in adopting a sustainable pension system.
Last but not least, I am proud to say that SWRC builds on the strengths of distinguished academicians and researchers – local and international, dedicated faculty members and collaborative partners. Among them are some of the most renowned individuals in their field, and their expertise and experiences are in line with the centre’s vision of the future. We are honoured that the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) of Malaysia has graciously provided an endowment fund in support of our efforts. Since its establishment in March 2011 SWRC has initiated and carried out various research, teaching and dissemination of evidence-based knowledge in this area in order to enhance the public’s understanding of this critical topic to promote economic development and social cohesion in Malaysia.
I hope you will continue to visit this site to learn about our upcoming events, to read our latest publications and to explore our educational and internship opportunities.
Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Norma Mansor
“Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men”
— Mahatma Gandhi