KUCHING, June 29 — The government has allocated RM5 million to the Social Welfare Department through the third Rolling Plan of the 11th Malaysia Plan for the setting up of 47 more senior citizens’ activity centres (PAWE) nationwide, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
She said with the additional 47 centres, it would bring the total to 135 PAWE centres nationwide.
The target is to build a centre at every parliamentary constituency to encourage senior citizens to remain active, she said when opening the state-level “Santuni Rakyat” programme at Mydin Petra here today.
Also present was Sarawak Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women and Child Development Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah.
Currently, Dr Wan Azizah, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister, said Sarawak has the most number of PAWE, with additional allocation had been approved to build two more of such centres, namely in Petra Jaya and Sibuti, thus bringing to 13 the total number of PAWE in Sarawak.
She said the federal government had also allocated RM82.9 million this year to the Sarawak Social Welfare Department to help 22,000 senior citizens through the “Bantuan Orang Tua” (BOT) initiative.
The deputy prime minister said according to the 2018 statistics issued by the Malaysian Department of Statistics, approximately 306,800 people or nearly 11 per cent of the Sarawak’s population of 2.79 million were those aged 60 and above.
This means, by 2030, the number of senior citizens in Sarawak is expected to increase to 16 per cent, with an estimated 526,300 people in an estimated population of 3.29 million, she added.
Dr Wan Azizah said the demographic change, including at the federal level, would have a huge implication on the social aspect, as well as the economy.
Early preparation towards becoming a country with ageing population requires the full commitment and collaboration of all quarters, including the federal and state governments, community and the senior citizens themselves, she added. — Bernama