Separated wives can apply too

Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah. Photo: Ramidi Subari

KUCHING: Female breadwinners or single mothers are also eligible to apply for ‘Bantuan Khas Ibu Tunggal’ or the Special Aid for Single Mothers (BKIT) in Sarawak, said Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah.

The Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development noted that there were cases of husbands leaving their wives without divorcing them.

Such women, she said, could still apply for the aid if they had verification letters from the village chiefs or community leaders.

“I understand that there are single mothers who are raising their children in the absence of their partners but they do not have the divorce documents,” she added.  

Fatimah gave the advice when speaking at the closing ceremony of a talk on i-Suri, i-Saraan, special aid for single mothers and iSarawakcare held at Waterfront Hotel here on Monday (Sept 14).

Fatimah added her ministry had requested the federal government to consider using the Poverty Line Income (PLI) of RM1020 for the application of BKIT in Sarawak.

She said many Sarawakian single mothers’ applications were turned down because they earned more than the PLI of RM960.

“However, the PLI of 960 is for Semenanjung, while in Sarawak, we are using the PLI of RM1020. Thus, Sarawakian single mothers earning not more than RM1020 should be eligible to apply for the aid,” she pointed out.

Fatimah revealed she had personally written to the director of Department of Social Welfare Malaysia (JKM Malaysia) to bring the matter up to the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and suggest it increase the PLI from RM960 to a standardised level of RM1020 for the applications in the state.

“A total of 1,687 applications for the aid had been approved while 1,264 were not approved. Meanwhile, 80 applications are still in the process of evaluation,” she said.

Fatimah added about 8,059 applications were being kept in view (KIV) due to the lack of supporting documents.

“That is why Sarawak JKM has employed 12 temporary daily staff to assist in ensuring that the applications will be completed by the applicants,” she explained.

Fatimah also urged those who had not yet registered for the aid to do so by obtaining the application form at District Office, JKM offices or Sarawak JKM website. The due date to apply for the aid is on Oct 31.