Minister mulls extending aid to divorced non-Muslim women

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KUCHING: There is a possibility that divorced non-Muslim women will have access to Bantuan Sokongan Keluarga (BSK or Family Support Assistance) which their Muslim counterparts are enjoying now.

Following a State Cabinet approval last year, BSK, with a fund of RM15 million, is available to divorced Muslim women whose husbands fail to give them alimony.

Noting that t he system had worked well, Minister of Welfare, Women and Family Development Datuk Fatimah Abdullah had suggested that it be extended to deserving non- Muslim women.

She disclosed that a team, comprising about 10 professionals, were conducting a study before coming up with a proposal to the ministry, which would make Sarawak the first state in the country to extend such help to non- Muslims.

 

HAVE SOME, PLEASE: Fatimah serves members of the Sarawak Single Mothers’ Association and their children during the Aidilfitri gathering.

Do not neglect children’s education

“The study commenced last month, but I shall say the proposal could be expected by November.

We have people with legal and Adat Istiadat (native customs) background in the team because there are many ethnic groups to look into.

“Even though we have civil marriage, some ethnic groups have their respective Adat Istiadat. We have the Ibans, Bidayuhs, Penans, Kelabits and others,” she told journalists at an Aidilfitri gathering organised by the Sarawak Single Mothers’ Association (Pitsa) at Wisma Kebajikan in Petra Jaya near here yesterday.

In her speech earlier, Fatimah told members of Pitsa not to neglect their children’s education and needs and provide them an environment conducive to learning.

“Not having a father figure in a child’s life makes an issue, but should not be one getting in the way of a single mother trying to provide quality life and education for their children.

“Set a good example for your children and hopefully they can grow into capable and talented individuals to serve the country.”

The Sarawak Islamic Department registered 1,511 divorces among Muslim couples in 2010.

There were 963 cases in 2009 and 1,076 cases in 2008.

For non-Muslim couples, 793 of them split up in 2010 while 671 divorces were recorded in 2009 and 665 cases in 2008.