KOTA KINABALU (June 5): Sabah has recorded an increase in domestic violence cases to 145 from January to April this year, compared to 126 cases in the same period last year.
Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Dato’ Hajah Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff said 627 cases of domestic violence were reported in Malaysia in the first four months last year, 126 of which were in Sabah.
This year, she said the number of cases nationwide had dropped to 576 in the same period, but Sabah saw an increase in domestic violence cases at 145.
She believed that the issue could be tackled with cooperation from all parties and through the role Waja Squad played in the community.
Siti Zailah said that when launching the ‘Semarak Skuad Waja Sabah 2022’ programme here on Sunday.
She said the Waja Squad, a women anti-crime movement, was a voluntary programme aimed at increasing public awareness to take action to stop violence against women and family.
“The initiative serves as the main reference for victims, especially women and vulnerable groups, by referring the cases to authorities who have the skills and expertise to provide immediate professional assistance.
“The role of Waja Squad has also expanded to becoming psychosocial services agents in the community in effort to enhance women’s knowledge not only in legislation and their rights, but also the four main aspects of women empowerment, namely economy, skills, balance and leadership.”
She added that Waja Squad members were required to undergo structured trainings using modules developed by the Department of Women’s Development.
Siti Zailah said a total of 120,693 Waja Squad members have been trained since the initiative was launched in 2021.
Between January and May 26, she said 172,003 volunteers have registered as Waja Squad members, which brought the total to 304,982.
She said Sabah has one of the largest Waja Squad with 21,387 members, comprising 12,228 women and 9,159 men.
“A total of 45,605 individuals have been assisted by the psychosocial programme since the implementation of Waja Squad.”
She continued to say that various psychosocial programmes have been implemented by Sabah Waja Squad in collaboration with the federal Women’s Development Office, including the ‘Kembara Waja Squad’ programme in Sandakan and ‘Psychosocial Kembara Waja Squad’ programme in Kota Belud, Tuaran, Ranau, Beluran and Pulau Tetabuan.
On another note, she said the Finance Ministry has allocated RM175,000 for Waja Squad in 25 districts in Sabah.
“The ministry hopes that the allocation will boost Sabah Waja Squad’s psychosocial activities and assistance to the community.”
Also present were Assistant Minister of Community Development and People’s Wellbeing Flovia Ng, Mayor Datuk Noorliza Awang Alip and Sabah Women’s Advisory Council president Datuk Dr Hajah Tarsiah TZ Taman.