KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 8 – Discrimination against the elderly is becoming rampant, an aged care organisation alleged today.
In a letter to The Star, Association for Residential Aged Care Operators of Malaysia (AGECOPE) vice-president Cecilia Chan Woen Min accused political leaders of not keeping their promises on meeting the needs of the elderly.
“More disconcertingly, a recent media report revealed that certain government departments are quite openly suggesting the opposite of what the leaders had promised,” she said.
Chan also highlighted a recent case where the licence of a centre for the elderly was cancelled due to complaints from residents in the neighbourhood.
Complaints filed against the centre were about visitors’ cars and ambulances at the facility, which complainants described as a “nuisance”.
“The application of this administrative directive defies logic and was done without considering the welfare of the centre’s elderly residents. The authority’s lack of consideration, consultation and insensitivity to the aged is contemptible,” Chan expounded.
Chan pointed out that day care centres for children after school do not face complaints or licence revocation, despite having many cars parked daily in the vicinity and the noise when parties are held for the children there.
“This shows lack of empathy and compassion in our society for the aged. It equates to moving those in our community with mental health problems to asylums. It also reflects the backwardness of our society.”
Chan also expressed concern on the lack of regulatory efforts for the elderly.
“Although the Private Aged Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 2018 has been passed, the regulations are yet to be enforced.
“Currently, the Care Centre Act 1993 regulates the aged care centres in Malaysia,” she said.
Chan added that the Act is linked to various entities including the local authorities and the fire, health and welfare departments and “involves an arduously complex web of bureaucracy and power relations among all these departments”.
“The process of expeditiously enforcing the Act is compounded due to the different interpretations and administrations of each of these departments.”
Chan called for coordination and cooperation among all parties to focus on committing to a holistic care for the elderly.
“The negative impact of discriminatory practices such as housing and social policies are profound on the elderly and their quality of life. Our leaders and those involved in policy planning must embrace a culture of sensitivity and understand the problem of ageing and its physical and psychological dependencies.”