Educate public on teenage pregnancies: Fatimah

Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah

KUCHING: Minister of Welfare, Community Well-being, Women, Family and Childhood Development, Datuk Fatimah Abdullah has again stressed the importance of educating the public on the danger of teenage pregnancies.

This, she said, included identifying risky behaviours and the available support system for unwed mothers so that they were not alone when they needed help.  

Fatimah was commenting on the baby dumping case in Kuching on Wednesday; the body of a baby was found behind Maybank Building at Jalan Bukit Mata.

“We can understand the public’s anger about it. The picture of the lifeless newborn baby sprawled on the ground is heart wrenching. There are questions that come to mind.

“What could have triggered such a tragic act? Was it a panic act? Was it due to her (mother’s) inability to think clearly, shouldering the pressure alone, having to hide her pregnancy all this while, giving birth to an unwanted baby which was proof of the forbidden sexual behaviour she had engaged with her boyfriend?” she asked.

Fatimah stressed that holistic and integrated actions were needed to educate the community on their collective responsibilities.   

“There is a need to educate not only girls but most importantly, boys, parents and the community on their collective responsibilities.

Fatimah revealed that reported cases of baby dumping in the state had dropped from 10 cases in 2018 to five cases in 2019 and five cases in 2020.

“My ministry together with our strategic partners will continue to carry out programmes and activities to reduce teenage pregnancies, pregnancies outside marriage and baby dumping. The special focus is on risky behaviours that can lead to unwanted pregnancies.

“Praise to God, we have seen a drop in teenage pregnancies in Sarawak and there is no increase in baby dumping cases,” she said.

Meanwhile, 623 cases of teen pregnancies were recorded   as of April, 2020 compared to 2,909 cases in 2015, 2,481 cases in 2016, 2,130 cases in 2017, 2,153 cases in 2018 and 1,967 cases in 2019.