Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail says the government will soon legislate an act to safeguard the rights and welfare of the elderly. - NSTP/AZHAR RAMLI

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will soon legislate an act to safeguard the rights and welfare of the elderly, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said today.

“The act is (also) meant to provide a support system for (senior citizens),” the Women, Family and Community Development Minister said in a statement after chairing a consultative meeting on the elderly here, today.

She also revealed that the ministry is collaborating with the United Nations Development Programme to develop an "age-friendly city".

“The main (goal) of the project is to encourage the elderly to participate in local (urban) planning, besides creating a friendly environment for them,” Dr Wan Azizah added.

The government will also establish 29 new activity centres nationwide to encourage senior citizens’ community participation.

So far, RM3 million has been allocated through the 11th Malaysia Plan this year towards that end; while RM80,000 has been set aside to improve facilities and purchase new equipment at existing centres; and RM33,333 has been earmarked for operations.

Dr Wan Azizah said that the ministry will mull introducing the centres in parliamentary constituencies which lack them.

All in all, she said that the consultative committee will ensure that Malaysia’s sunset generation will get their dues.

The Pakatan Harapan government recently proposed that employers’ mandatory Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contribution for workers aged 60 and above be reduced from 6 per cent to 4 per cent, to give them an incentive to hire the elderly.

It also announced that working senior citizens will not need to contribute to EPF, thus leaving them with greater disposable income.

Companies with senior citizen employees will also enjoy tax incentives; while RM10 million will be allocated annually by the government to allow parents of contractual civil servants to enjoy medical benefits.

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