April 28, 2010

MALAYSIA: Helping them should be govt policy

. KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia / The New Straits Times / Letters / April 28, 2010 M.G.D. of Kuala Lumpur, in his letter "Group can help get better deals" (NST, April 22), has highlighted the plight of retirees and senior citizens. He said: "The rising cost of living is especially distressing to senior citizens who depend on their fast depleting life savings to survive." He suggested that "Nascom, the umbrella body for senior citizens' organisations in this country, may be in a position to bring some relief to members of these affiliated organisations" by negotiating with corporations to offer discounts to senior citizens. However, in light of the gov-ernment's pronouncements to make our nation a high-income society, asking Nascom to beg for discounts is inadequate. In our push to attain a level of high income, the plight of senior citizens would be ignored. Furthermore, the population of the aged is increasing fast. Driving the nation to attain high income and a developed status would only alienate and push the senior citizens further below the poverty line. Providing amenities, discounts and other assistance to the elderly should be part of government policy. It should not be a matter of choice but it should be a subject of social conscience for the government and companies claiming to practise social and corporate responsibility. Only then can we say "People First, Performance Now". [rc] Tam Yeng Siang Petaling Jaya Copyright © 2009 NST