After a year into the different movement control orders imposed and people are encouraged to stay in their homes, there were expectations that a baby boom will occur in Malaysia.
Despite the expectations, the numbers shows that it did not happen. The Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) had recently revealed that Malaysia may become an ageing nation by 2030 with people aged 60 years and over surpassing 15 per cent of the population.
This is potentially a serious issue for Malaysia as it will affect the country’s labour force and the economy at large. The government will be forced to dig deeper into its coffer to support the increasing demand for healthcare and pension.
According to the Sun Daily, Chief statistician, Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said that the numbers of new births in the country was not as significant as expected. This can be contributed by several factors and among them were postponements of wedding ceremonies to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic.
As from the broader angle, the decline of the young population is also due to society being more inclined to choose careers and lifestyles that are more free from commitment.
Meanwhile, Sunway University economics professor, Yeah Kim Leng added that the rising cost of living was another factor that prevents couples from having children. He said that almost 80% of Malaysia’s population resides in the cities and the cost of raising a child is much higher than expected.
DOSM’s latest statistics shows that the Malaysian population stood at 32.7 million, comprising 90.9% (29.7 million) citizens and 9.1% (3 million) non-citizens. The population annual growth rate is 0.4%, indicating a slow growth trend.
Looking into the age groups of the population, population of 60 years and over increased from 3.4 million (2019) to 3.5 million which represents 10.7% of the total population, while people aged 65 years and over increased from 2.2 million (2019) to 2.3 million (2020) forming 7.0% of the total population.
Whereas, the young population (0-14 years) had decreased through the years to 23.3% or 7.6 million and the working-age population (15-64 years) decreased to 69.7% or 22.8 million.
Mohd Uzir Mahidin said that as the working-age population began to shrink, it could lead to a lower tax collection for the country. At a point in time, the working-age population may need to pay more taxes as this is one of the sources of national revenue.
Furthermore, the Government may need to introduce employment system for the elderly so that they have their own savings and not rely too much on the pension schemes.
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