CM: New welfare aid slated for Sarawakian mums

Abang Johari (fifth left), with Awang Tengah on his right, presents the EFS to a newborn baby at the event. Also with him on stage are (from left) Nogeh, Ting and Ripin.

MIRI: The Sarawak government will come out with a new welfare assistance programme slated for Sarawakian women who have just given birth.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg announced this when launching the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) Zone 13 A for Bekenu and Lambir branches at Bekenu Multipurpose Hall yesterday.

Abang Johari, who is also the president of Sarawak’s ruling coalition GPS, described the new welfare programme as an initiative by the state government to help lift some of the economic burden off the women with newborn infants.

“These mothers would need a lot of money for them to buy milk and other necessary items for their newborn babies. We will announce something good to assist the mothers by end of this year,” he said.

This new welfare assistance programme is expected to complement the existing one-off incentive implemented by the Sarawak government under the Endowment Fund Sarawak (EFS) scheme, which took effect in January this year.

Under the EFS, the Sarawak government has allocated some RM40 million this year for Sarawakian babies born on Jan 1 this year and onwards – each of them will receive RM1,000, which would be invested by the Sarawak government and could only be withdrawn upon the children reaching the age of 18.

The EFS aims to enable the recipients use the money to pursue tertiary education, or as business start-ups, as well as savings for those not continuing higher education.

On education matters, Abang Johari said Sarawak was taking the lead in implementing the teaching Mathematics and Science subjects in English.

He said the commitment had been given after federal Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik conveyed Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s request for Sarawak to take the lead in teaching Mathematics and Science in English, in April this year.

The Sarawak government, added Abang Johari, had even forked up its own budget of RM10 million this year to train teachers to teach the two subjects in English.

This was because the federal government had no budget to implement the programme this year, in that the federal budget to train teachers for the programme would only be available next year.

Later at the same function, Abang Johari presented a special annual grant of RM5,000 each to two primary schools and another two Community Development Department (Kemas) preschools in the Bekenu constituency.

They primary schools are SK Bekenu and SK Tanjung Belipat, while the preschools are Tabika Kemas Kampung Satap and Tabika Kemas Kampung Subak.

The chief minister also presented EFS to four newborn babies from the area.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Sibuti MP Lukanisman Awang Sauni, Piasau assemblyman Datuk Sebastian Ting, Lambir assemblyman Ripin Lamat, Samalaju assemblyman Majang Renggi and former Mas Gading MP Datuk Anthony Nogeh Gumbek were also present at the event.

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