Wednesday, July 8

‘RM500 for returning women workers good, but more support systems needed’

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Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah

KUCHING: Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah has welcomed the RM500 monthly incentive for women who return to the workforce, as announced in Budget 2020.

However, the Welfare, Community Well Being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister says other support systems such as the setting-up of more childcare centres at the workplace are also necessary.

According to her, the current allocation to set up daycare centres at the workplace is inadequate, especially for a large state like Sarawak.

“The RM500 wage incentive is good as the record of women who return to work after a few years because of commitments such as taking care of their children, is not very encouraging.

“It is hoped that with this incentive, the productivity and excellence of these women workers would improve, but other support systems would also need to be upgraded especially when it comes to daycare centres,” she told Utusan Borneo in an interview yesterday.

Fatimah was responding to the RM500 monthly incentive for a period of two years for women aged between 30 and 50, who return to work after being out for a year or more, as announced by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng when tabling the budget last Friday.

Under Budget 2020, the federal government also tripled the allocation to build childcare facilities in hospitals and schools, from RM10 million this year to RM30 million next year.

On this, Fatimah said the amount was definitely not enough for Sarawak, as such facilities are almost non-existent in schools and hospitals in the state.

Apart from that, the minister also suggested the federal government look into the welfare of community-based rehabilitation centre (PPDK) personnel not just in Sarawak, but throughout
Malaysia.

“Supervisors and employees working at PPDKs are currently being paid low wages, while bearing heavy workload. Supervisors are only paid RM1,200 a month, while staff are given an allowance of RM800,” she said.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Women for Women Society president Margaret Bedus, when contacted, felt that the RM500 monthly incentive for women who returned to work did not match the current cost of living.

“This incentive is good but compared to the higher cost of living at this time, the amount is very low.

“We know women quit their jobs after giving birth because they have no one to care for their children.

“Hence, this is why the government needs to create more daycare centres at the workplace, in support of these women,” said Margaret.