Social security for elderly is the government’s responsibility

The government’s recent plans to enact a Senior Citizen’s Act to better protect elderly Malaysians is welcome as Malaysian society is fast becoming older. However, whilst the intention may be noble, in its execution, there may be fundamental problems. Of particular focus is the inclusion of a portions penalizing or otherwise forcing children to undertake filial piety.

As an Asian nation, filial piety is often seen as the norm. However, with the economic situation of most Malaysians, especially youths, it may just not be possible to fully undertake that responsibility. Pemuda Sosialis worries that the aforementioned provision may disproportionately target children of these senior citizens who are themselves struggling to survive.

Additionally, we must consider the fact that there are cases whereby parents themselves have been abusive to their children, so much so that getting financial independence is an escape from that environment. Forcing them to continue to engage with their abusers by law is much too restricting a step.

In any case, taking care of an aging population should not be privatized to individuals, rather it must be seen as the collective responsibility of society. The Malaysian government must realise this and execute truly comprehensive steps by which the welfare our elderly is adequately covered.

Moreover, we must realise that condemning their children to further financial stress when they themselves are finding it difficult to cope is unsustainable. Hence, a holistic approach would include primarily methods by which to increase wages in Malaysia, which itself must include a way to dissociate Malaysia from the globalized supply chain that depresses our wages further.

Realising this, Parti Sosialis Malaysia have launched our Old Age Pension Scheme campaign to ensure each elderly individual who does not currently receive pensions to be paid RM 500 per month by the state. As the first-step in building a more secure social safety net, this will enable those without much savings to be able to independently pay for some of their needs. Additionally, we have kept campaigning for increases in the minimum wage and improving social wages as well.

The Malaysian government should embrace their responsibility towards the masses in coming up with effective policies, rather than constantly trying to push this responsibility towards those who are already suffering the debilitating effects of capitalism.

Arveent Kathirtchelvan

Pemuda Sosialis
Parti Sosialis Malaysia

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