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Changes in the demographic structure, where increasing number of ageing population is not balanced with adults and the young, could pose various challenges to the social and economic environment of a country. — Shutterstock pic
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MALAYSIAN citizens should prepare early as the country is expected to reach ageing population status by 2030.
Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM) director-general Datuk Nik Mustapha Nik Hassan said among others, the things that they needed to do were to start saving at a young age and learn to plan life for when they would get old as well as take measures to strengthen the family institution.
“According to the United Nations projections, the country will achieve the status (ageing country)in 2030,” he said.
Nik Mustapha was giving the opening speech for a roundtable discussion on the “Realities of an Ageing Society: Causes and Challenges in Malaysia” at the Dewan Besar IKIM here yesterday.
He explained that a country achieved the status of an ageing nation when 15% of its population consisted of those aged 60 years and above.
The elderly or senior citizens are those aged 60 years and above, according to the definition outlined by the National Policy for the Elderly.
Nik Mustapha said that among the factors identified that were contributing to the increase in the number of senior citizens in the country were the decline in fertility rates which relatively reduced the number of young people as well as increased access to quality health services now.
Changes in the demographic structure, that is when an increasing number of ageing population is not balanced with adults and the young, it could pose various challenges to the social and economic environment of a country, he said.
A report issued by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) stated that 90% of the contributors towards the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) in Malaysia did not even have enough money to live a simple lifestyle for a period of five years after retirement.
The 4th Malaysian Population and Family Study by the National Population and Family Development Board which was matched with the result of the population and housing census in 2010 found that about 23% or 538,000 of the 2.4 million senior citizens in Malaysia suffered from the “empty nest” syndrome.
The roundtable discussion which was organszed by IKIM was to find the best approach to face the challenges of the ageing society phenomenon and propose measures to strengthen the family institution as a pillar of strength for the economic and social development of the country.
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