New fund on the way

KUCHING: More good news from the Sarawak government. Mothers will receive financial assistance during their confinement period.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the new initiative was important and necessary in view of the rising cost of living.

He said details of the fund would be unveiled in the state budget for 2020 this November.

“The fund for the purpose will assist all mothers (during their confinement), regardless of whether they are full-time housewives or working … they are eligible to obtain this special assistance because we do not want to discriminate against anyone,” he told reporters after attending a sacrifice ritual (a requirement of Eid al Adha) at Satok Sports Complex at Kampung No. 6, Satok yesterday.

Such a fund would help mothers, especially those who are daily-paid workers or who are jobless, provide extra care for their newly born babies, he said.

“It is estimated that there are 40,000 babies born annually in Sarawak, so the fund will eventually serve approximately 40,000 pregnant mothers per year,” he said.

In linking the proposed policy to the rising cost of living nowadays, he hoped the extra financial assistance would help ease the burden of mothers who have just given birth.

“While most mothers can have their maternity leaves, there are others who need to go back to work almost immediately after giving birth,” he said.

The latest assistance complements the Endowment Fund Sarawak (EFS) announced by Abang Johari beginning of the year. Each newborn registered Sarawakian will receive a one-off incentive of RM1,000, regardless of race, religion or social status, which can only be withdrawn when the child reaches 18 years of age for their tertiary education.