Ng E-Jay / Current Affairs Desk, The Online Citizen
15 June 2009
With contributions from Gerald Giam and Ravi Philemon
Recent proposals to amend the Maintenance of Parents Act suggests an act by the government to pass the buck of caring for the elderly to their children, but this puts an inconsiderable strain especially on lower-income groups.
PROGRESSIVELY encroaching on the private lives of citizens under the umbrella of public interest is a constant refrain of our paternalistic Government.
The recent proposal to amend the Maintenance of Parents Act to allow third parties to invoke it is a case in point.
Granted, all children do have a serious moral responsibility of caring for their aged parents. But the law is an extremely blunt instrument to use in what is primarily a family issue. Family members interact with each other not just at the economic level, but more importantly, emotionally as well.
Resorting to the law to settle family disputes, especially one over financial matters, is not just a rude intrusion into what is primarily private space, but also easily lends itself to abuse.