MIRI: The parents of recipients of Sarawak Endowment Fund (SEF) yesterday thanked the state government for the initiative.
A total 43 babies in Miri received the endowment fund during a simple ceremony.
They were the first batch of recipients to receive the endowment fund worth RM1,000 each for Miri division.
The one-off incentive, can only be withdrawn when the child reaches 18 years of age.
“Thank you, GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) for the initiative,” said one of the mothers, Azalina Abdullah, 37.
Sharing similar sentiment was her cousin, Rafidah Mohd, 30, who also received the fund.
Both brought together their respective babies aged one month and four months.
“We are very excited and are happy with the initiative started by the Sarawak government,” said Rafidah.
The handing over of the SEF was the first ever held in Miri division since the announcement was made by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg during the tabling of the State budget last November.
On hand to hand over the fund yesterday was Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah.
Fatimah revealed that as of April 25 this year a total 5, 070 babies or 49.14 per cent out of 10, 317 have been registered for the SEF initiative.
“Kuching tops the list for the highest number of babies registered for the programme, with 1,980 followed by Sibu (950); Miri(659); Bintulu (267); Sarikei (260); Sri Aman (223); Mukah (201); Limbang (178); Betong (118); Kapit(107); Serian (66) and 61 for Samarahan, ” she said.
She also called on parents to register their new-borns for the initiative as the state government has allocated RM40 million for the fund this year.
“All Sarawakian babies are eligible for the initiative, and registration can be done at 52 branches of the National Registration Department (JPN) statewide,” she said.
Fatimah was met during the “Sejambak Kasih Gawai-Raya” and the handing over of the SEF yesterday morning at Dynasty Hotel here.
During the event, 200 people received goodies in the forms of hampers and Duit Gawai-Raya.
Each of the ‘Sejambak Kasih (the bouquet of love programme) Gawai-Raya’ recipient received cash of RM100.
The annual event is a collaboration between the Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Ministry and Dynasty Hotel to help ease the burden of those celebrating Gawai-Raya.
For this division, a total 2,318 people received Gawai assistance, while 850 were given the aid for Raya.
A total of 30,750 recipients statewide have been given the assistance to celebrate Gawai Dayak, while 15,626 got it for Hari Raya, Fatimah said.
On the monthly assistance provided by the Sarawak Welfare Department, from January to April this year (2019), a total 56, 096 recipients received their aids which involved allocation amounting to RM67.3 million.
Also present were Women, Family and Childhood Development Assistant Minister Rosey Yunus; Tourism, Arts and Culture Assistant Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin; Lambir assemblyman Ripin Lamat; Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau and Dynasty hotel managing director Tony Pui.