---->Thank you: Lee (right) presenting a token of appreciation to Chua during the club’s 15th anniversary celebration recently.
MALAYSIANS have to adopt healthy eating habits and routine exercise to keep themselves fit for their later years, said MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, who is also a medical doctor.
Speaking at the 15th anniversary dinner of the Senior Citizens Recreation Club in Seremban recently, Dr Chua urged Malaysians to change their attitudes and take better care of their health and fitness to ensure a quality living standard in their later years.
“Recent studies show that 80% of Malaysians over the age of 60 will develop one chronic disease. This is not good news and as long as we continue to overeat and not exercise, we are going to be a nation of unhealthy people.
“Because of medical advancement, the lifespan of the average Malaysian has increased.However, we have to ensure that not only do people live longer but that they also enjoy a good quality of life throughout those years,” he said to a crowd of almost 1,000 guests at the Chung Hua High School in Seremban.
Dr Chua said an ageing population and decreasing birth rates — issues faced by most advanced nations today — could potentially impact a country’s economic development unless steps were taken to minimise its effects.
“Social welfare is one of the aspects that needs looking into or eventually, it will be the younger population who will have to support the elderly.
“The retirement age should be raised to 60 years and part-time jobs should be an option for seniors,” he said, adding that retraining of senior citizens could be an option to help seniors secure jobs in other fields upon retirement.
Dr Chua, who joined in the club’s anniversary cake-cutting ceremony, also presented awards to club members.
State MCA chief Datuk Dr Yeow Chai Tiam, who was also present, said the state government’s recent contribution of RM55,000 to the club and its 22 branches statewide was proof of its commitment to the well-being of senior citizens here.
“We are doing what we can. There are 2.34 million Malaysians above 65 years of age and at least 40% of them are facing financial difficulties.
“We should look into raising the retirement age and also perhaps providing a monthly subsidy for these older folk who have contributed to our nation’s growth, “ he said.
He suggested that an annual grant be given to active senior citizens’ associations or clubs to enable members to carry out more beneficial activities.
“We also hope to see more multi-racial clubs where people can meet and mingle regardless of their race, religion or background,” he added.
Club chairman Lee Sook Fun thanked Dr Chua for taking time off his busy schedule to join the senior citizens in celebrating the club’s anniversary.
“Dr Chua’s presence here today means a lot to us. Clubs like ours need support for us to be able to organise activities.
“Our gratitude also goes out to the state government which has provided us with some financial help over the years,” she said.
Lee, 62, said the club was a place for seniors to meet and mingle with their peers and keep themselves busy with activities like karaoke and tai-chi.
“We have more than 400 members aged between 45 and 90.
“As most of us are retired, we cannot afford to spend a lot of money on organising activities for members. Clubs like ours are important as it allows seniors to keep themselves occupied and fit,” she said.
Guests at the event were treated to a sumptuous dinner and entertained with song and dance by club members.
THE STAR (Tuesday August 3, 2010)