Population Ageing and Social Protection in Malaysia
The New Economic Model for Malaysia (NEM) 2010 defines inclusiveness as one of the three pillars of a developed society in the next decade and beyond. The underlying principle of the inclusiveness objective of the plan is to enable every Malaysian to have access to opportunities in order to contribute to the economy and to ensure that essential needs of the people are met. The question is to what extent does the present scenario support this objective of equalising opportunities? Also, in ensuring that essential needs of the people are met without marginalising any group, are the existing social safety nets policies adequate to support every Malaysian to sustain a decent living standard? This is of particular concern to the old age group that is getting bigger due to a very low population growth and an increasing average life span of 71.7 years for males and 75 years for females. Hence, this paper attempts to answer these questions and other related issues. It is divided into three parts: the first part defines the key concepts and framework employed in this paper; the second part examines the existing social protection schemes in Malaysia and analyses some case studies of NGOs working with the elderly and the final part offers some policy recommendations as a way forward.