Saturday, August 20

Just over 50 pct of babies born in January registered for EFS, observes minister


KUCHING: A total of 1,472 infants had been registered for the Sarawak Endowment Fund (EFS), between Jan 1 and 31 this year.

Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah said only 51.2 per cent of 2,871 Sarawakians born during the period, had been registered for EFS.

“We have had a meeting to discuss some of the issues involving EFS such as whether a single mother is eligible to apply for her child, a minor and so on.

“Those involved in the discussion were the Sarawak State Attorney-General (AG) Office, the State Finance Office, the National Registration Department (JPN), Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd, and the Sarawak Health Department,” she told reporters in a press conference here yesterday.

The Sarawak government has set aside RM40 million for EFS, slated for every child born beginning from Jan 1 last year.

Each newborn baby is entitled to RM1,000 in EFS, and the fund can be utilised only after they reach the age of 18.

Last year, Sarawak recorded 36,117 newborn babies – 33,304 of these babies are Sarawakians.

Of the total, only 26,731 infants had been registered for the EFS, said Fatimah.

Kuching registered the highest number of births up to December last year at 13,327, followed by Sibu (5,698), Miri (5,108), Bintulu (3,360), Sarikei (1,479), Serian (612), Samarahan (222), Sri Aman (867), Betong (387), Kapit (686), Limbang (975) ) and Mukah (672) – bringing the total to 33,304.

However, only 80.26 per cent of the 26,731 registered for EFS in Sarawak as at Dec 31 last year, were managed by JPN and Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd.

Apart from that, the ministry would provide the RM450 Maternity Incentive (IIB) for every woman who had given birth, beginning from Jan 1 this year.

The criteria for this incentive are that the mother must be a Malaysian citizen, the identity card of the mother must hold the ‘K’ status, that she gives birth within or outside Sarawak, and that her pregnancy must be 22 weeks and above.

Applications can be made via, or directly to the Resident’s Office or District Offices, and the Early Childhood Development Division.