KUCHING: The percentage of senior citizens in Sarawak is expected to increase to 16 per cent by 2030 with an estimated 526,300 people compared to a projection population of 3.29 million.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail mentioned that according to the Department of Statistic Malaysia, in 2018, almost 11 per cent of the population in the state are senior citizens numbering 306,800 compared to a population of 2.79 million.
“Malaysia will become an aged country by 2030 where 15 per cent of Malaysians are estimated to be aged 60 years and above,” she told a big crowd present at the state-level “Program Santuni Rakyat” at Mydin Mall, Petra Jaya here, yesterday.
Wan Azizah, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister, said the demographic change will have major implications on the social and economic aspects.
“Hence, early preparation towards the status of an aged country requires full commitment and collaboration at all levels including the federal government, state government, local authorities, private sector, academicians, NGOs, communities including senior citizens,” she pointed out.
She added that the federal government is very concerned about the welfare and needs of senior citizens in line with the national senior citizen policy and in order to provide more effective and impactful services, her ministry has initiated several initiatives.
Among them she said included the introduction of the Senior Citizens Bill, which aims to provide shelter to family members and communities as well as to create a strong support system for senior citizens and guardians, in order to prevent dependence and neglect in old age.
Other than that, is the establishment of Citizens Registration and Mapping (eWe) which is a system that aims to identify demographics such as their skills, needs and interest information.
Furthermore, is the introduction of the Elderly, Children and Youth Intergeneration Programme, including increasing accessibility to support services by all parties such as day care centres, health screening and wellness for senior citizens.
“Don’t waste the opportunity when the elders are still around. Remember, money can be earned, knowledge can be explored, but the opportunity to love the elders (parents) and time could not return,” she said.
The programme themed “Semarak Kasih, Malaysia Sejahtera” is organised by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry as an initiative to introduce and further promote the various services and programmes under the ministry to the people in Sarawak.