The Star: Government Needs to Plan for Ageing Malaysians (29 August 2018)

Don: Government needs to plan for ageing Malaysians
29 August 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: The number of Malaysians aged 60 and above is projected to reach 3.5 million in 2020 and 6.3 million in 2040 – about 20% of the total population, says academician Prof Datuk Norma Mansor.

There must be a review on policies to provide a better social support system for this ageing population, said the director of the Social Well-being Research Centre (SWRC) in Universiti Malaya.

“Malaysians will have at least 15 years to live after retirement, and more of them will depend on savings, pensions and EPF contributions for sustenance in their later years,” said Prof Norma in one of her articles entitled Ageing and Retirement: Perceptions and Expectations among Malaysians.

The article is published in a booklet by the Employees Provident Fund titled “Social Protection, Insight, A Better Tomorrow”.

“Changes in policies should lead to the achievement of ‘Happy Nation’, a term coined by a United Nations research group led by American professor Jeffrey Sachs when studying sustainable development goals,” said Prof Norma.

Malaysia is ranked No. 35 in the World Happiness Report 2018, compared to Singapore at No. 34.

Prof Norma said the recently-announced Caruman Sukarela Insentif Suri (i-Suri), the EPF contributions for housewives, is a step in the right direction, as it promotes inclusiveness.

“To turn it into a comprehensive social protection, the new policy can also consider covering pregnant mothers from underprivileged families.

“I also believe that the new government should be given ample time to review the policy as it is facing fiscal issues,” she said.

Prof Norma stressed that while the government is responsible for policy design and implementation, the onus to effect social change also lies with individuals and employers. — Bernama

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