KUALA LUMPUR, August 1 — A lawyer urged Putrajaya to enact a law to protect elderly people from abandonment and to legally mandate children to financially support their parents.
K. Siladass gave an example of a case his legal firm handled, where children wanted their elderly parents’ properties.
“The children are thinking the old man is going to die, he is already 80 years old and might die anytime. So what will happen to their properties?” Siladass told the recent 9th Malaysian Conference on Healthy Ageing 2019 organised by the Malaysian Healthy Ageing Society here.
“A very lovable husband transferred all his properties to his wife having the intention that the wife must enjoy during the lifetime and letting her decide who should inherit next.
“However, the children are not prepared to let her mother die and they want her to deal and hand the property to them. The children were prepared to go to any lengths to ensure their mother will not sell the property without their knowledge and consent,” he added.
When asked to elaborate on how exactly did he want the law to protect senior citizens in Malaysia, Siladass suggested that Malaysia reference Indian legislation.
India’s The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007 legally obligates children to provide maintenance to senior citizens — Indian citizens aged over 60 years and all parents irrespective of age. Senior citizens can apply to a maintenance tribunal seeking a monthly allowance from their children; punishment for not paying the required allowance is maximum three months’ jail or a fine.
“The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007 makes it a legal obligation of children to provide for their elderly parents; abandoning them is a criminal offence,” Siladass said.
“As of today, Asian countries are enacting laws to protect their senior citizens. Countries such as India and China have strong culture to respect their parents.
“The Indian law aims to protect biological, adoptive or stepparent, grandparents, or senior citizens over 60 years who cannot maintain themselves; [they] can claim maintenance,” he added.