THE STAR - 28.10.2009
KOTA BARU: Kelantan Women, Family and Health committee chairman Wan Ubaidah Omar suggested that awards be given to assemblymen for marrying single mothers should they decide to take another wife.
Her suggestion drew support from backbenchers – all of them men – who started thumping their palms on the table at the Kelantan State Assembly on Wednesday.
She said the assemblymen could increase their quota to help single mothers with young children and it would help greatly if the assemblymen assisted by marrying them.
Her statement prompted house speaker Nassuruddin Daud to ask Wan Ubaidah to explain the word quota.
What I meant by quota is the number of wives; awards should be given to learned House members who take the lead in doing this and also for those who have already married single mothers.
This would help to reduce the number of single mothers in the state, she said in reply to a question by Hassan Mahmood (PAS-Tawang), who had asked what was being done to reduce the number of divorce cases and what efforts were being taken by the state government to help single mothers.
To a supplementary question, Wan Ubaidah said that based on state records, there were 16,500-registered single mothers below the age of 60 in Kelantan and this figure did not include those who had been left in the lurch by their husbands.
She said one dilemma facing some single mothers in Kelantan and the country as a whole was that many of them could not register at the Welfare Department or related agencies because their husbands had left them without filing for divorce.
She said that she agreed with the call by Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Nik Mat to whip irresponsible husbands who left their wives high and dry without any reason.
She said Kelantan spent RM2mil annually to look after the welfare of single mothers who had no source of income.
Apart from that, we have organised entrepreneurial workshops to help single mothers earn a living.
The government has also organised talks to educate the immediate families of single mothers to take the initiative to help and not leave them alone to fend for themselves.
We have had similar educational talks for husbands who had divorced their wives to encourage them to pay alimony to help their ex-wives get on with their lives, she added.