DPM: Govt mulling new law in 2021 to protect elderly from abuse, neglect

Yiswaree Palansamy
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry agrees that there is a need for a specific law to protect senior citizens. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 — Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail today said that the government is studying the formulation of a new law to protect the elderly community especially from neglect and abuse, given the worrying increase in the number of such cases.

Speaking to the press after an event in Serdang, the Women, Family and Community Development (KPWKM) Minister said that an initial study on the subject was already done by Universiti Malaya (UM), and after viewing the findings, the ministry agrees that there is a need for a specific law to protect senior citizens.

The Bill for the new law is expected to be tabled in Parliament in 2021.

“Based on the PEACE research by UM, KPWKM has agreed that there is a need for a law to protect senior citizens when it comes to issues of neglect and abuse, whereby these cases are found to have been on the rise, and perhaps there are many more unreported cases,” she told reporters.

Bernama had in October last year, reported that the study by UM in 2015, titled “Prevent Elders Abuse and Neglect Initiative”, revealed that senior citizens had the most potential to be exploited or to become the target of financial abuse.

Dr Wan Azizah said that an in-depth research, approach and scope for the creation of a specific law for senior citizens in Malaysia will kickstart, and UM has been appointed as a consultant to conduct the said research, which is to be concluded in 15 months.

“The main findings from this research is for a senior citizens Bill which will be suggested and tabled in Parliament in early 2021,” she said.

In October last year, Dr Wan Azizah's deputy, Hannah Yeoh said that awareness among the younger generation on the care of elderly people in the country has declined, leading to various abuse cases involving senior citizens.

She reportedly said that abuse cases involving senior citizens which had been rampant lately, were mostly due to financial problems faced by family members.

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