ST Aug 17, 2009
Govt may act against children who dump their elderly parents
CHILDREN who dump their elderly parents in hospitals or nursing homes could be taken to task and forced to help pay for their parents' care.
The Government will study how best to use the Maintenance of Parents Act to get such children to do their filial duty, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last night during his National Day Rally speech in Mandarin.
This came about after he met several nursing home managers who told him of old folk abandoned by their families.
The children of these old folk had said they would not care even if the homes decided to kick their parents out, he recounted. Some even changed the addresses on their identity cards so that they could not be located.
This will not do, said PM Lee, who also dismissed the line taken by some who say 'there is no filial son for long-term illness'.
My bet is that as the years go by, the Maintenance of Parents Act will gain greater and greater significance, as one of Singapore's social experiments.
Initially, the implementation would be mild-mannered. But over time, the authorities will become more and more aggressive in applying the Act.
After all, we have an aging population, and also a government whose policies and principles are quite firmly against providing social welfare. Yet you can't just let the old folks die in the streets.
The solution has to be this - force citizens to provide financial support for their aged parents.