Wednesday, April 1, 2015


For Malaysians living in Malaysia, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) comes into effect today - 1 April 2015. This is not an April Fool joke. It's for real. Nothing can be harsher than the reality of struggling with limited financial resources to maintain the same lifestyle. It does not help that we also have a weak ringgit. A double whammy indeed for everyone, especially for retirees and pensioners. They will have to tighten their belts a notch or two.

The time is certainly right for the introduction of a senior privilege card. Senior citizens in countries like Australia and the USA have been using such cards for years. About time seniors in Malaysia had one too, and SeniorsAloud will continue to push for it.

The opportunity finally came in Oct 2014 when SeniorsAloud received an invitation to participate in the Social Impact Innovation Challenge, organized by Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM), in the Prime Minister's Department.

Our team members Kamil and Lily attended a one-day workshop as part of the challenge. We were taught how to pitch ideas. We brainstormed a few potential ones and finally decided on a senior discount or privilege card as our entry in the Elderly Care category. We were told that the 12 finalists would receive RM50,000 plus RM25,000 seed money to kick-start their projects.

We worked hard and came up with a slide presentation which we had to submit to AIM through their crowd-sourcing platform Ureka. Before the deadline came up, we were informed that there was no need to submit the slides. A brief write-up about the project would suffice. To cut the story short, our entry was approved. But we never got the chance to move on to the next round where we could pitch our senior privilege card to the selection panel.

Anyway, rather than see our efforts go to waste, we are happy to share the slides here. We welcome feedback, if any.

Setting the context - why the need for a senior privilege card

We figured we would target the middle class as it was affected the most by the rising cost of living. The lower income groups were eligible for welfare packages and subsidies, but the middle class fell outside the ambit of government aid. 

Presenting our objectives. Noble indeed, but perhaps too ambitious?
Identifying the groups that would benefit from a senior discount card. We imagined the long queues waiting to apply for our card, much like lining up to get the Rabbit card for seniors to travel on public transport at 50% off the regular fare.
Some of the many benefits cardholders would enjoy.

As an added bonus for cardholders, we would include free transportation to hospitals by volunteer drivers who would regard this as contributing to the community. Seniors helping seniors.

Phase One: How it works. Such services are already in operation overseas.

Two models to choose from should the project receive the green light. You will be surprised to know how difficult it is for an elderly person to visit the hospital on her own for a check-up or for treatment.

Ok, a little self-promotion here is necessary if you want to sell an idea or business proposition. Our Unique Selling Points.

A vision chart of all the big companies that would want to be listed on our privilege card. We can dream big, can't we?
Wouldn't you want to own one, and not leave home without it?

To be sure, we already have tons of discount cards, privilege cards and membership cards. But one specially for seniors? Some companies have been issuing such cards to seniors as part of their customer service. But how useful are the cards?

I have a privilege card from a pharmacy that is valid till 2017. I hardly ever use it. Why?
  • There are simply too many terms and conditions governing the use of the card.
  • The discount is small - usually 10%. 
  • The discount is applicable for a very limited range of items. 
  • It is valid only at outlets operated by the issuing company.

In other words, there is no ONE card that offers seniors a decent discount across a broad range of goods and services.

Isn't it time we had ONE?

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