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Monday, November 10, 2014

Gov’t may spend $80m on old age pension this year

THE government is projected to spend about $80 million for old age pension to 27,166 senior citizens this year.

This was based on the calculation made by The Brunei Times on the number of old age pension recipients, which was shared by the Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports yesterday.

Up to September this year, a total of 27,166 senior citizen received old age pension, said Datin Paduka Hjh Adina Othman, Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports at the Women Coun-cil of Brunei Darussalam’s ‘Jalinan Kasih’ event to celebrate 10 of their senior citizen members at Park View hotel in Jerudong yesterday.

These members were still active in contributing to their respective associations. They were from Women’s Institute of Brunei Darussalam (WI), the Brunei Government Senior Officers Wives Welfare Association (BISTARI), Belait District Women Welfare Association (PKP) and the Brunei Malay Teachers Association (PGGMB).

In Brunei, senior citizen is defined as aged 60 years old and above. The life expectancy for male in 2013 is 75.7 years while for women it is 78.4. The Department of Economic Planning and Development estimated that senior citizen will increase from 25,900 in 2013 (6.4 per cent of total population) to 64,158 in 2030, an increase of 1.7 per cent, she said.

Senior citizens received $250 monthly in assistance from Community Development Department. The pension does not discriminate if one is rich or poor, as all citizens and permanent residents are entitled to receive the pension as long as they reach the age of 60. The pensions were introduced on January 1, 1955 as a Kurnia Khas (special gift) of the late Al-Marhum Sultan Hj Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien.

She stressed that even though the government had provided programmes and assistance to senior citizens, the responsibilities must also be shouldered by all levels of the community.

As a Malay Muslim Monarchy country, problems such as neglect of senior citizens must not happen. Every individual or community have to be responsible for the senior citizens especially their parents and family members, she said. “Policies and planning on managing issues related to senior citizen is important and must be done as early as possible so that Brunei will not faced what other countries are currently facing - aging society,” she said.

The contribution by senior citizens on the development of family, society and country is undeniable. It is their contribution that leads to the birth of the current generation that continuously drive the  development, she added.

She also spoke about how His Majesty’s government strived to make the senior citizens of this country to be healthy, active and continuously contributing, by providing conducive environment for them.

The Deputy Minister said an action plan to manage issues related to senior citizens had been approved (in 2011) and is currently under implementation by the special committee for senior citizens and special needs individuals.

She added the action plan outlined actions to be taken under nine main topics: 1) Policies and legal, 2) health, 3) community involvement, 4) education, 5) employment, 6) transportation, 7) infrastructure, 8) social & recreation and 9) research.

The plan can be categorised into short-term, middle and long term.

In addition to the action plan, many programmes have been implemented towards caring for the elderly. These include putting social safety net in place such as old age pension, service pension, Employees Trust Fund (TAP), Supplemental Contributory Pension (SCP) and health programmes such as ‘Health for All’ and ‘Healthy Lifestyle’.

Sumber - The Brunei Times

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