Have you heard? 60 is the new 40!

  • Letters
  • Monday, 31 Dec 2018

I REFER to “Help seniors get jobs” (Views, The Star, Dec 24; online at tinyurl.com/star-seniors) and also “Shrinking job options for seniors” (Views, The Star, Dec 27; online at tinyurl.com/star-senior-jobs) on the matter of work and employment in old age.

The issue of old age employment was highlighted in the 2011 National Policy for Older Person’s Action Plan; and currently the Institute of Labour Market Infor­mation and Analysis under the Human Resources Ministry is conducting a study on “Penggajian & Gunatenaga Warga Emas di Malay­sia” (Wages and Employment of Senior Citizens in Malaysia).

For those seeking employment, do visit the Jobs Malaysia 2.0 portal at jobsmalaysia.gov.my for more information.

While policy developments and reform may seem distant, and changing the general attitude of employers appears to be an uphill task, I have come across companies and businesses who have progressive hiring policies that support a multigenerational workforce.

The challenge is to mainstream workforce retraining and job reentry for older workers, much like the programmes and incentives put in place by the Singaporean government for both employers and employees alike. The Starbucks VIP Programme launched in 2015, for example, is a CSR effort to attract workers who are 55 years of age and above by providing flexible work hours and other benefits for seniors.

Just recently, the Johor State Women Development and Tourism committee chairman Liow Cai Tung stated that the government wants to encourage the older generation to come back to the working community, based on their capabilities.

I would like to suggest that interested seniors get in touch with Klang Valley-based Hire Seniors (hireseniors.my) or Active 60 based in Penang (active60.org) that are helping older persons to find work.

Seniors interested in learning a new skill or trade can try the various community colleges or contact your local senior citizen clubs, which may have a network that can be tapped.

The University of the Third Age (U3A) Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, based on Universiti Putra Malay­sia’s Serdang campus, offers many interesting courses, some of which can lead to income-generation activities (u3aklsel.wixsite.com/malaysia).

There are also U3As based in Bandar Utama and Petaling Jaya in Selangor.

I hope that senior citizens and older Malaysians do not feel alone or left out of national development.

We need to change our perception of senior citizens because more and more are living longer and healthier and are still able to contribute to society at large.

After all, 60 is the new 40!


Senior Research Officer

Malaysian Research Institute on Ageing

Universiti Putra Malaysia

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