BY Wani Roslan
THE Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) in collaboration with other ministries and stakeholders evaluated and implemented policies supporting the rights and protection of senior citizens while encouraging their involvement in developing the country, said YB Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports.
He was responding to a query by YB Pehin Orang Kaya Pendikar Alam Dato Paduka Seri Haji Hasrin bin Dato Paduka Haji Sabtu, Legislative Council (LegCo) member on the role of senior citizens in community development and the actions taken by the MCYS to assist them at the 14th LegCo session on Saturday.
YB Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan said the ageing population in Brunei Darussalam is almost 10 per cent out of the total population.
The minister added that the senior citizens action plan with the vision towards healthy and active citizens contributing to the country’s development has been reviewed and approved by the Social Issues National Council (MKIS) in May 2017.
“The action plan has three main objectives – develop productive and independent senior citizens; welfare and well-being of senior citizens to ensure the scope of social networking encompasses protection and healthy ageing; and senior citizens friendly support systems to ensure a friendly environment to reduce inability of the elderly and encourage them to be involved in the community,” he said.
He added that the implementation of the action plan has been well-functioning with the opening of the Senior Citizens Activity Centre (PKWE) in all three districts including the new centre in Kampong Pandan in Belait District.
“The centre serves as a facility for senior citizens to interact with people especially youths and it also aims to provide opportunities for the elderly to contribute to the community.”
He noted the number of registered senior citizens at the PKWE – 267 in the Brunei-Muara District, 165 in Tutong District and 25 in Belait District. Activities conducted at the centre include knowledge-sharing, religious, cultural, crafts, sports and nationhood.
Speaking on the less fortunate senior citizens, the minister said that the MCYS has two social security system approaches – Monthly Welfare Assistance for frail and bed-ridden senior citizens aside from receiving old age pension, and the intervention of the Community Development Department (JAPEM) involving family counselling to ensure the proper care of senior citizens who are neglected by their family members.
He said 910 senior citizens and old-age pension recipients were approved to receive a monthly welfare allowance in December 2017.
“While for senior citizens who do not have family support, the Government of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam through JAPEM will strive to ensure that their welfare is not neglected,” he added.
The minister added that the effort is also assisted by volunteers through the Senior Citizens Care Project (PMWE) where nine elders were taken care of by seven active volunteers and 124 volunteers have registered under the project.
-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin