More care and attention should be given to empower the elderly in civil society, says the Malaysian Coalition on Ageing (MCOA).
PETALING JAYA: More care and attention should be given to empower the elderly in civil society, says the Malaysian Coalition on Ageing (MCOA).
Its spokesperson Cheah Tuck Wing said a step in the right direction was through stronger coordination of government resources towards elderly Malaysians.
“We urge for the establishment of a separate ministry solely to uphold the needs of elderly Malaysians, as care for the elderly is currently under the jurisdiction of the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry and the Social Welfare Department in particular.
“This results in the minister having to oversee the needs of women, children and the disabled in addition to the elderly which causes many urgent requirements of the senior community to be inadequately addressed,” he said at the launch of the MCOA earlier on Saturday (Feb 19).
Cheah, who is also the founding president of the Third Age Media Association, called for better inclusion of senior citizens into society through better infrastructure design in public places, the upkeep of care facilities for the elderly and employment opportunities.
“This includes facilities such as specially allocated parking lots for the elderly in public areas and having elderly-friendly buses that provide easy accessibility for seniors.
“Employers are also urged to provide equal opportunities of employment to elderly Malaysians who are still able to contribute to the economy,” he said.
Cheah added that the population of senior citizens in Malaysia was set to reach approximately 4.5 million in 2030 and that a clear human capital strategy should be lined up to ensure sufficient manpower to care for the elderly. “Local Malaysians are also urged to embark on the career of being a caregiver which will allow a lesser reliance on foreign manpower in the long run. “Efforts should also be taken by the government to recognise caregiving as a noble profession whilst allocating proper training and certification,” he said. Cheah said the coalition would also be inviting other stakeholders on ageing to join the MCOA as a means to empower the elderly. “It will be an inter-sectoral approach consisting of collaborative efforts between civil societies along with the public and private sector. “This allows us to bring forth a diversified group united together as a strong voice to advocate the rights of seniors,” he said. Earlier on Saturday, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed among the nine founding members of the MCOA to mark its launch. The MCOA has the goal of empowering the older population through advocacy, research and evidence-based strategies. Its founding members consist of the Association for Residential Aged Care Operators; the Gerontological Association of Malaysia; Golden Age Welfare Association Malaysia; Nursing Care Association Selangor; Seniors Aloud; Third Age Media Association of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor; Central Welfare Council of Malaysia’s Port Dickson branch; University of the Third Age Kuala Lumpur and Selangor and the Putrajaya Senior Citizens Activity Centre.