JOHOR BARU: Malaysia is expected to hit the “ageing nation” status by 2030.
Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun, who disclosed this yesterday, said some 2.77 million senior citizens (categorised as those aged 60 and above) made up 9% of the 30.49 million population.
She said by 2030, the number of senior citizens is expected to be at 15%.
“This is due to a drop in the fertility rate and an increase in people’s lifespan,” she said during a Chinese New Year celebration with senior citizens at Rumah Seri Kenangan Johor Baru here.
Chew, who is also an MCA vice-president, said the fertility rate had dropped from 2.4 children in 2010 to 2.0 in 2014 among Malaysian couples, while life expectancy rose from 71.4 years for men and 76.2 years for women in 2005 to 72.5 and 77.4 respectively last year.
“The dependency ratio will also increase with every 6.2 citizens, aged between 15 years and 59 years, having to care for an elderly person by 2020,” she said adding that by 2030, every 4.7 persons would have to look after an elder.
Chew also said that the ministry had set up a task force chaired by her to brace for the rise in the number of senior citizens.
“We have already held four consultation sessions with NGOs for a study on the matter.
“The latest development is to review a study by the Malaysia Aging Research Institute to identify issues as well as strategies to overcome them,” she added.
Chew said another study on the facilities and services for senior citizens was also being carried out by the Welfare Department with the cooperation of the institute and Universiti Putra Malaysia.
“The study is expected to be completed by September and through the findings we will create a directory, especially on services for the elderly and a guideline on their needs,” she said.
Chew said that the ministry will work towards promoting awareness on family planning, especially among the Chinese whose fertility rate stood the lowest at 1.4 children.
“The Chinese make up only 21% of the population, so imagine the future population if we limit ourselves to just one or two children,” she said.