For care of old folks
> Decision to stop building governmentrun welfare homes criticised
PETALING JAYA: Human Rights activist James Nayagam has described the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry’s decision to stop building government-run welfare homes as “terrible”.
He told theSun the ministry’s decision could only bring adverse effects especially to the low income group.
“The government must take into account that there are many people who can’t afford to take care of their aged parents.
“This could be due to their status as a single person or due to their meagre income. The going rate for private nursing homes is between RM2,600 and RM3,000 a month.
“How many people can afford those rates?” the former Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) commissioner asked.
While he understands the nature of the move, Nayagam cautioned that it would only create more cases of abandoned or illtreated elderly people.
“Just because of the irresponsible act of some children who abandon their parents at welfare homes, the whole society should not be punished.
“Some segments of society do have children who are responsible but unable to afford the necessary care for their parents.
“The government should take into consideration such circumstances. Besides, it is the government’s duty to safeguard the welfare of senior citizens ,” he added.
DAP MP Teresa Kok also expressed outrage over the decision, saying it could potentially burden NGO-operated welfare homes.
“It is true many irresponsible children are dumping their parents in welfare homes instead of caring for them.
“Perhaps it is time for us to have laws to prevent this or ensure that parents will be looked after by their children,” she said.
Stressing that the issue of “dumping” will not be solved by stopping the building of welfare homes, Kok called on the government to come up with other measures instead to address the issue.
“The ministry can look into creating sustainable retirement homes under a public-private initiative which could be jointly developed and run by both sectors.
“Tax exemptions could be given to donors of such retirement homes.”
Their response came after Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rohani Abdul Karim announced on Sunday the government did not plan to build any new homes to add to the nine already in existence.
The move, she said, was due to more people dumping their aged parents and relatives at government welfare homes instead of caring for them themselves.
She also said the government plans to convert one of the homes into a respite centre where it would cost RM50 per day for meals and services offered to their parents.
Our front page report yesterday.