Thursday, October 1, 2015

Suhakam calls for amendments to Federal Constitution to protect older persons

Hamzah Nazari

Human Rights Commission of Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam, in comemorating the 25th anniversary of the United Nations International Day of Older Persons, calls for amendments to be made to the Federal Constitution to prohibit age discrimination. -- TRP file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 1, 2015:
In lieu of today being the 25th anniversary of the United Nations (UN) International Day of Older Persons, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam is calling for a Federal Constitution amendment to prohibit discrimination based on age.
Hasmy pointed out that this would be important as a sizeable portion of Malaysia’s population, in time, would be made up of older persons.
“According to UN statistics, by 2050, the number of older persons will be twice the number of children in developed countries; and the number of older persons in developing countries is expected to double.
“In Malaysia, by 2030, older persons will constitute 15% of the population.
“Naturally, this trend will have profound effects,” he said in a statement today, reiterating Suhakam’s stand that older persons should not be seen as a liability to or a burden on a country’s economy, but should be treated as an important asset, whose expertise and experience can be utilised to contribute to society.
“The Commission also remains concerned that the National Policy for Older Persons and Plan of Action for Older Persons which were approved by the government in 2011 to acknowledge, among others, that older persons are entitled to enjoy a comfortable and respected life, have not been adequately promoted and implemented.“The Commission therefore recommends the inclusion of age as a ground upon which discrimination shall be prohibited in the Federal Constitution.
“The Commission thus recommends that these plans be immediately strengthened and implemented at all levels and sectors of society with a monitoring system in place.
“The Commission further recommends the appointment of a Senator to represent and protect the interests of older persons, including on matters such as age discrimination, income, housing and health.”
He also urged the Malaysian government, in its capacity as Asean Chair, to take the lead by encouraging the formation of a regional human rights instrument to provide a comprehensive framework for the promotion and protection of all human rights of older persons in ensuring that Asean citizens enjoy their human rights equally.
“The Commission is also strongly supportive of the proposal for a UN convention on the rights of older persons that will combat ageism, discrimination and denial of rights in older persons which continues to be tolerated across the world.”
~ The Rakyat Post

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