Mon, Jun 15, 2009
The Straits Times
Support your parents or the law may do it for you, says minister

AN ACT to ensure that parents are supported by their children may be amended to allow a third party to invoke it, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Boon Heng said yesterday.

Right now, the Maintenance of Parents Act can be invoked only by parents themselves, who may be reluctant to do so, Mr Lim told reporters.

Last month, the Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Vivian Balakrishnan told Parliament that the Act would be reviewed to enhance support for the elderly.

Mr Lim said children should do their duty and look after their parents.

'It is not a good thing to have to invoke the Act to force a child to carry out his or her responsibility, but it is something that is necessary in today's context,' he said.

He said there was a need to 'redouble efforts in public education to emphasise the importance of filial piety'.

The hope is for education and peer pressure to reduce the need to resort to the law.

He said everyone had a role to play, including religious organisations, civic organisations and even parents.

'I think it is our duty to teach our children from young what the relationship should be.'

This article was first published in The Straits Times.

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