An ageing Malaysia should 'Look East'

Opinion  |  Phar Kim Beng
Published:  | 

COMMENT | Between 1990 and 2020, the size of the Malaysian population increased by 80 percent. But in the same period, the number of people who aged also increased by a whopping 210 percent.

By 2050, 23.5 percent of the total population of Malaysia will be above 65 years of age. By then, Malaysia will be an aged society. But Malaysia could be there even sooner. By 2030, 15 percent of the Malaysian population will be above 60 years of age.

An ageing society is one where up to seven percent of its population is above the age of 65; whereas an aged society is one which has 15 percent of its population above this age range. Currently, Malaysia is moving towards being an ageing society by 2030, then an aged society by 2040. Time is of the essence given the size, and speed, of this problem.

Based on the statistics of 1990-2020, those above the age of 65, in other words, have increased at almost three times the rate of youths in Malaysia.

While it took France 115 years to become an aged society, Malaysia will experience it in 24 years.

Invariably, learning from Japan is not an option now but a strategic necessity. Between 2019-2025, Japan will be in need of 500,000 skilled and semi-skilled workers a year.

This labour shortage is caused by ageing effects which Malaysia will continue to face in 2030 and 2050 respectively. Therefore, it is important to learn from Japan now, especially when switching to robotics...

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