Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Laws must protect all those who are abandoned - By Raymond Anthony Fernando

My letter to The New Paper on the above matter, is published on Wed 26th June 2013.

Given that the elderly are often viewed as being a burden by some of their children, I am not surprised to read the report, “Dumped like a dog in JB,” (The New Paper, June 25).

Have those who had abandoned their elderly parents forgotten that they would not be in this world if not for their parents?

With people living longer and as our population ages rapidly, caregiving will become the norm. But caregiving, undoubtedly, will see carers suffer burnout - more so when grown up children have to work long and draining hours to bring home the bacon, and to look after their own families.

With many of our elderly living in isolation and abandoned not just overseas, but here in Singapore, there is an urgent need for our law makers to ensure that the elderly are given adequate protection. It does not augur well for Singapore when such cases are taking place in several countries overseas.

More so, when the Government strives to make Singapore the best home to work, play and live in.
It is not just the elderly who are being abandoned, but there are also other vulnerable groups who are living in isolation, feel unloved and uncared for. One such group are those suffering from mental illness who are ostracized from society. Primary caregivers in this group must provide frequent care to their stricken ones under very complex circumstances.

One way to minimise abandonment of vulnerable groups is to have a proper support system for caregivers, and this is something that is clearly lacking here.

Under the Mental Capacity Act, abandonment is an offence only under the Children and Young Persons Act for children under the age of 12. Why is this so when there are adults suffering from mental illness who are abandoned? Shouldn’t those that fall in this bracket also receive adequate protection?

Criminalisation of abandonment of vulnerable groups is long overdue; and this is why our policy makers must review laws concerning these groups, so that everyone in Singapore can lead a simple, fruitful and meaningful life.

- Raymond Anthony Fernando

Here, the link to that article:

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