KUALA LUMPUR: As Malaysia transitions into an ageing society this year, it will still be able to reap socio-economic dividends by fostering productivity, protecting incomes and building an inclusive aged care system, a World Bank report revealed today.
Recognising the scope and complexity of ageing, the report, titled “A Silver Lining: Productive and Inclusive Ageing for Malaysia”, provides multiple short- to long-term policy recommendations.
“In the short term, the recommendations include broadening Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) coverage to include more self-employed and informal workers, improving quality standards of aged care homes, and enhancing opportunities for training and lifelong learning.
“While in the longer term, the report calls attention to the need for longer working lives, which in turn will require gradual adjustments to the minimum retirement age and EPF’s minimum withdrawal age in line with increasing life expectancy,” the report said.
World Bank Group representative to Malaysia and country manager Firas Raad said Malaysia has an opportunity to better protect its elderly citizens and enable them to age with dignity and purpose.
“The provision of minimum income protection for older Malaysians will require further improvements in the coverage and adequacy of social insurance schemes.
“A broadly targeted tax-financed social pension may also be required to comprehensively cover the population,” he said during the virtual launch of the report today.
The report was launched by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
Based on the report, more than seven per cent of the country’s population are aged 65 and above this year, and the ageing rate will increase in the coming years.
By 2044, the number is expected to rise to 14 per cent of the country’s population, and 20 per cent by 2056.
Firas said at this transition point, which has been made all the more challenging by the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 is a crucial year for Malaysia to take steps to better protect its ageing population and to ensure that they are not left behind in the future.