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.

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