Laws needed to protect seniors

The needy elderly in Singapore will now find it much easier to apply for wheelchairs and other assistive devices they require.

SINGAPORE - I was heartened to read Dr Kanwaljit Soin's well-argued commentary ("Time for S'pore to have laws against age discrimination"; last Saturday) about the continuing prevalence of discrimination against older people in the workplace, despite the Government's efforts to combat such mindsets.

I have heard anecdotes about this from some of my friends of "a certain age", and have faced discrimination myself. I have also tried to help those who were laid off and gripped by the fear of never finding a job again.

As Dr Soin states, it is time to enact laws to help workers, even the professionals, managers and executives, as they grow older and face the possibility of being laid off.

For an educated, qualified person, it is very difficult to face the thought of depending on government handouts for the next 25 to 30 years. It is a recipe for depression and mental health issues in their twilight years.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recently referred to seniors as the "pioneer generation", and they deserve better from their country.

Dr Soin wrote about "productive ageing". For that to happen, being gainfully employed while one is able to work must play a big part.

For an ageing population such as ours, it is essential to put in place and implement laws to protect older citizens.

As for vehicle insurance, I have lived for many years in Switzerland, Britain and the United States, where vehicle insurers cannot get away with raising premiums or denying insurance to those aged 65 and older.

In this respect, Singapore has not adopted the mindset of a "developed" nation. Development is not just about economic indicators, but also how a society treats its elderly and those less able to manage on their own.

Tara Dhar Hasnain (Mrs)

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.