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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   30 July 2013  

More M'sians seeing children as economic burden

The dropping fertility rate may see large families become a thing of the past, especially with more Malaysians seeing children as an economic burden.

“Most parents now look at children from an economic point of view. We have to make it so that they are seen as an asset and not a liability,” said Malaysian Chinese Association Economic Bureau chairman Dr Fong Chan Onn.

Tying this with a dropping fertility rate, Fong said the Malaysian government needed an economy that would make children more productive to families dealing with rampant inflation.

“We’re not talking about slave (labour), but children as young as 16 or 17 can be very creative and can cater to a young market,” he said.

He added that many developed nations were grappling with declining populations and that there were no easy solutions to the matter.

The government, he said, also needed to prepare its social infrastructure to deal with older people.

This would include looking into areas such as better public transport, social security, pension funds, and elderly-friendly housing estates.

International Islamic University of Malaysia professor Dr Alias Abdullah said these population trends may kick in within the next 10 years.

“We’ll be seeing more older people, and more old folk’s homes, and schools with less pupils and more teachers,” he said.

Using Japan as an example, Alias said that if Malaysia was not careful, it might experience population loss.

A Bloomberg report said that Japan’s population declined by 212,000 last year. A mere 1.03 million people were born there last year, the lowest since World War II.

As a result, he said that politicians could no longer afford to govern along racial lines.

“It’s not about the races, but the population, universities, hospitals and houses. We need to prepare for the future,” he said.

Courtesy: This post originally appeared on the Star

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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