Plight of compassionate caregiver nuns deserves immediate attention

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Our “developed nation’’ dream will never become a reality if we fail to come up with policies to create a caring society, says JD Lovrenciear.

A recent reader’s letter ‘Immigration woes for Liitle Sisters of the Poor’ (Malaysiakini, 28 September 2019) brings into the open a sad and pathetic state of affairs that the government cannot ignore.

The absence of immigration policies to ensure that the elderly poor have access to free and dignified palliative care until their demise is shocking.

Why have the relevant ministries and agencies denied visas to foreign nuns who specialise in caring for abandoned elderly Malaysians?

Why should dedicated nuns – who are living a selfless religious life, caring for the infirm elderly without being paid salaries – fall under expatriate visa categories?

As Paul Arokiasamy highlighted, despite all kinds of appeals and letter after letter to the various authorities, our leaders have not yet resolved this issue.

With society increasingly losing its values and the means to care for the elderly, shouldn’t the government quickly facilitate and support religious bodies willing to step in to lovingly care for a fast-ageing populace?

I hope all media will bring the nuns’ plight to the fore. I also pray that civil society leaders who champion justice, democracy and human rights will see the plight of the foreign nuns as a worthy cause and demand justice.

In a nation where Islam is recognised as a compassionate religion, I hope NGOs and others will step forward and demand that the new government resolves this long-standing issue affecting the elderly poor of this country.

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It is time we realise that our “developed nation’’ dream will never become a reality if we fail to come up with policies to create a caring society.

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