| Imelda Farrah Zohre HA |
AS OF September 2014, there were 27,166 recipients of the old age pension under the Department of Community Development and that by 2030, the number of senior citizens in Brunei will more than double. Datin Paduka Hajah Adina binti Othman, Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, revealed this in a speech yesterday afternoon at the “Jalinan Kasih Warga Emas” event held by the Women’s Council of Brunei Darussalam (MWNBD).
In her welcoming remarks, the President of MWNBD, Pengiran Datin Paduka Hajah Mariam binti Pengiran Haji Matarsat, said that the event was to celebrate members who are 70 years old and above but are still active. It was also a mark of appreciation and thanks from MWNBD for the senior members’ dedication and service over the years.
Datin Paduka Hajah Adina noted the worldwide phenomenon of ageing societies and Brunei was not spared from it. “According to statistics from the Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE) the number of senior citizens in Brunei will increase from 25,900 in 2013 to 64,158 by 2030 based on an annual average growth rate of 1.7 per cent.
“As a result, policies and contingencies for tackling issues of senior citizens are of utmost importance and must be implemented as soon as possible so that the country does not face problems that have been faced by other countries with regards to the ageing society.”
The deputy minister highlighted the invaluable contributions of senior citizens towards the development of families, the community and the nation, and that the government takes the welfare of senior citizens seriously. An action plan for tackling issues related with senior citizens has been approved and is being implemented by the Special Committee for Issues of Senior Citizens and People with Special Needs under the National Council for Social Issues.
This include old age pension, service pension, Employees Trust Fund (TAP) scheme, Supplemental Contributory Pensions (SCP) scheme, welfare assistance and Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) such as the establishment of the Senior Citizen Activity Centre. At the event 10 members of MWNBD were celebrated for their long service. The guest of honour also presented souvenirs to the senior members as a token of appreciation. The event was held at the Park View Hotel in Jerudong.