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Malaysia: Is This Our Future?

I was scrolling pointlessly on Twitter when I stumbled across a link that was shared by Syed Saddiq of an article from The Edge Markets entitled Malaysia in 2050: Old, Poor and Sick? . It has topped the website’s chart for being one of the most read articles, possibly due to the curiosity of the nation and the detailed analysis that was said from an expert to another. The statistics chilled up my spines. I may or may not live up to 2050 but as if I was taken there with a time machine, I can see clearly that my life, and the youth’s lives in general, are at absolute risk.

DM Analytics Malaysia chief economist Dr Muhammed Abdul Khalid, cited a presentation from Unicef Malaysia’s deputy representative and senior social policy specialist Dr Amjad Rabi during a forum on “Malaysia’s Population in 2050: What Does This Mean Socio-Economically? “ showing that Malaysia will be an aging population by 2035, with more than 15% of the population aged 65 and above, and is one of fastest in the world compared to first world countries like France and US which had almost 70-100 years before calling themselves an aging population, and even Philippines is ahead of us with having another 35 years. If  the decline of youth population is truly happening, we will lack of fresh ideas to develop the country, let alone competing, or even be on par with other countries.

Currently, he noted that there about 70% of Malaysians who are about to withdraw their money from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) after retirement with less than RM50,000 in their savings and about 20% having less than RM7,000. This is not new to me as there are a lot of employees out there who withdrew their savings as early as 30 years old to use it for personal purposes such as settling debts and maintaining their luxurious lifestyle despite the chocking expenses especially those who live in the middle of the city. This obviously shows that the financial management of Malaysians is at stake and if this trend continues, we’re doomed in the tomb.

Muhammad also shared that Malaysians are highly related with chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. One in three of Malaysians has a problem with his or her mental health. 1 in 5 is a smoker, while 7 out of 10 are second-hand smokers. Infertility rate has increased from 6.2 child per woman during independence to 1.9 child per woman today, hence the end of the demographic window of opportunity, which occurs only when the working-age population expands at a higher rate, compared to the general population.

“Young people are also not doing well. Youth unemployment is going up. Even if you get a job, your salary is probably going to be stagnant. Between 2007 and 2015, the job wage growth for graduates was about 2%. Minus inflation, it (wage growth) is negative,” he added.

We’ve seen enough, we’ve heard enough, we had analyses enough, and even myself had wrote a lot about this issue in my previous articles. We don’t have to dare ourselves for a fully transformed nation in 2050 if we’re only transforming into an old, poor and sick third world country. The change doesn’t happen then, it needs to happen urgently, now. Malaysia, is this the legacy that we want to leave for our children later on with our own lives drowning deeper each day? Does the lack of health, wealth and security satisfies you? Don’t you want to take your ideology a turn and if talking about 30 million citizens of the country is too bombastic and scares you, don’t you want to take a step further for your own family that carries your blood and surname? Don’t they matter to you, to us?

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