Fatimah (right) hands over the EFS, BIB and GTK to a representative for Limbang division while Harden looks on. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

KUCHING: A total of 19,357 babies has been registered for Endowment Fund Sarawak (EFS) from January 1 to July 31 this year.

Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development (KWKPK) Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said the total number registered had increased to 79 percent this year compared to 68 percent for the corresponding period last year.

“Of the total, 17,196 of the newborns are those who are of the ‘K’ status,” she told a press conference at her office at Baitul Makmur Complex here yesterday.

She said bank accounts for 12,184 of the registered babies had also been successfully opened at Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad, the strategic partner of the initiative.

She added that last year, 26,731 out of 33,304 newborn Sarawakians were registered for EFS, equivalent to 80.26 percent.

As for the Post-Natal Care Incentives (BIB), Fatimah revealed that 17,520 mothers had successfully applied for the aid as of July 31.

She said of the total, 445 of the applicants were those with the ‘Sarawak Connection’ status and non ‘K’ status, meaning that they were non-local citizens married to Sarawakians.

Fatimah also revealed that 2,978 early childhood education institutes (IPAKK) had successfully applied for the Special Annual Grant (GTK) as of July 31 this year.

“This is equivalent to 96 percent of the total 3,105 IPAKKs in Sarawak.

“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have allowed these IPAKK to utilise the funds to pay for the rents of their premises and also to pay for the salaries for the teachers,” she said.

She added that the funds could also be used to purchase sanitary items such as hand sanitisers and disinfectants in view of the Covid-19 pandemic in the state.