KUCHING: Empowering women can strengthen the family system and lead to a strong community and nation.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg stressed this at the International Women’s Day 2019 celebration at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here today.
Added the Chief Minister: “In this changing era, we should give focus on empowering women to improve their socio-economic status.
“The state government should tackle the economic standing of the women so that other problems could be mitigated.
“Just like a country, a family should have a proper budget to balance the family needs in order to maintain a peaceful family.
“Inadequate finance could lead to problems and if prolonged, separation will happen. The ones affected will be the children who will undergo an imperfect upbringing. Thus, empowerment of the women will be able to increase family income.”
Continued Abang Johari: “A strong family will lead to a strong community and a strong nation. By 2030, I hope Sarawak can be the centre of economic activities in Malaysia.
“Therefore, I hope women can play their part in the movement to build a rich, peaceful and advanced Sarawak.”
He pointed out as part of the move to empower women in the state, the Sarawak government allocated RM500,000 to be used as seed capital for startup ventures run by women in Sarawak.
Encouraged by the good response and returns, Abang Johari said the state government had decided to allocate RM1 million this year to be used as seed capital for the startup ventures.
“The half million ringgit was only a test and they had been dispersed professionally by Women and Family Department (JWKS).”
Abang Johari explained, “From the training programmes, the women are now equipped with skills and expertise which bring them good economic returns. We can see them venturing in a lot of fields including tailoring, baking and culinary arts.”
According to the Chief Minister, many success stories in business started with small capitals.
“Take for an example, the history of big companies in the United States of America. They proved that small start-ups can also bloom into a big success with high determination. They have undergone a lot of rejections but with good financial management, their companies can still grow,” he added.
Abang Johari also shared the story of Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank from Bangladesh who was awarded a Noble Prize in Economic Sciences in 2006 for his efforts in developing social and economic improvements through microcredit and microloan operations.
He said from the historical point of view, the success of the microcredit programme was due to the women. The story behind Yunus’s success began when he began lending small sums of money to local women who needed to buy materials to make their products.
Abang Johari also praised the collaboration between JWKS and SOCOE Sdn Bhd in developing the application named ePreneurs Wanita which is a new approach in line with the state’s efforts to move into a digital economy.
“The women have always wanted to add value to their products. With the new application, the women can now promote their products and services,” he said.
Present at the International Women’s Day celebration were Abang Johari’s wife Datuk Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang, Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah,former Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abang Muhammad Salahuddin’s wife Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Norkiah, late Head of State Tun Datuk Patinggi Abdul Rahman Ya’kub’s wife Toh Puan Datin Patinggi Hayati Ahmat, and State Legislative Assembly (DUN) speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar and his wife, Datin Amar Fatimah Mohd Iskandar.