News ID: 214319
Published: 0639 GMT May 02, 2018

Malaysia needs laws to protect elderly

Malaysia needs laws to protect elderly

By Arfa Yunus*

She knows she is headed for an uphill task in the 14th General Election (GE14). However, she is determined to make use of the little time she has so that her plan to protect the elderly can be realized.

Barisan Nasional Seputeh parliamentary seat candidate Chan Quin Er believes the country needs laws to protect its senior citizens. “Make it a crime for children who neglect and ill-treat their parents,” she told the New Straits Times Press recently.

“We have laws to protect children, women, plants and animals, but we don’t have a law to protect our parents,” she said.

According to the Statistics Department, there were more than two million senior citizens (aged 65 and above) in the country last year, which made up 6.2 percent of the total population.

Malaysia is expected to reach aging population status by 2020 with the percentage of old age population exceeding seven percent. This increase would affect the old age dependency ratio, according to the department.

The former deputy public prosecutor, 31, said it was timely for such a law to be legislated. Children who neglected or abused their parents should be punished, she added.

At present, there is no law making it illegal to abandon or neglect the elderly because the assumption is that their families will take care of them.

She expressed sadness over the issue, adding that she was shocked that many children viewed their parents as burden.

“When I become a member of parliament (MP), I want to make sure that we have a law to protect our elderly.

“Under the law, we call our children and parents as our dependents, but when did parents suddenly become a burden?

“We are Asians. We talk about being obedient to our parents, but our law does not reflect this. So, it’s time for this issue to be considered.”

Chan is set to face Seputeh’s Teresa Kok, who won the seat in the last polls with more than 50,000-vote majority.

The seat is considered a DAP stronghold ever since Kok won it in 1999.

Certain quarters have described Chan’s candidacy in Seputeh as a ‘suicide mission’.

However, she remains optimistic.

She said there were many things she wanted to address, which she claimed Kok had neglected.

Although national issues were important, she said Kok should not have neglected local issues and should spend more time in her constituency.

“If we are such a thriving community, then things should have improved over the years but they haven’t.

“I wish that my MP cared more about local issues because from what I heard, the people rarely see her around.

“She could have done much more, such as paying more attention to the people’s livelihoods and not just pacifying her supporters by talking about scandals.

“It’s time for the people’s representatives to stop complaining and start finding solutions.”

Malaysians will go to the polls on May 9, dubbed as the ‘mother of all elections’. Early voting will be held on May 5.

*Arfa Yunus is a journalist in New Straits Times.

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