MIRI: The number of teenage pregnancies in Sarawak is decreasing, from 4,000 cases in 2015 to 2,000 presently.
However, Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah wants to see further drop not only in the number of teenage pregnancies but also in cases of baby dumping.
“It is very important to take preventive measures and involve many relevant agencies and NGOs (non-governmental organisations) to curb the problem at the early stage,” she told members of the press after declaring open the Sarawak Women Aspiration Group (Swag) Northern Zone seminar at Mega Hotel Miri yesterday. Present was Women and Family Department Sarawak director Noriah Ahmad.
Over 200 women took part in the one-day seminar jointly organised by Women and Family Department in collaboration with Swinburne University of Technology.
Fatimah also said a committee had been set up to carry out awareness programmes on the dangers of underage sex and teenage pregnancies. She said underage sex is considered as rape even though done with consent and the penalty is jail of up to 30 years.
On another subject, she said a taskforce headed by herself had been set up to deal with citizenship of stateless children.
She said they hold a monthly meeting to vet through applications for citizenship which would then be passed to the Home Ministry for approval, which would usually take less than a year.
“We are grateful to the ministry as the children need their citizenship status to get into school,” she added.
Earlier in her speech, Fatimah said the seminar was meant to provide a platform for women entrepreneurs to network and exchange knowledge and experiences with one another.
She said all information and data received during the seminar would be analysed for further action and used as reference for the department to design programmes for entrepreneurs in Sarawak.