By Emma Victoria
Whether there is going to be a baby boom or not, Sarawak is certainly big enough to accommodate the newborns and the state government welcomes them
“This is a government that cares,” said Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Fatimah Abdullah.
“We are prepared to face the anticipated baby boom early next year following the movement control order (MCO).
Such birth rate occurrences are quite likely to happen as couples would have the “time and opportunity” and would also encounter difficulty in getting contraceptives during the MCO period.
However, couples would also need to consider issues such as future financial implications, child care and education,” she said.
Fatimah said the state government had been keeping a close watch on the number of babies born in Sarawak since last year and had introduced a scheme where babies born from 2019 would get RM1,000 under the Endowment Fund Sarawak (EFS).
“This year, the state government introduced the Bantuan Ibu Bersalin, or assistance for mothers scheme, amounting to RM450. This is to ease some of their burdens, especially those who have no income during their confinement period,” she added.
Recently, the National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN) health unit head Dr Hamizah Mohd Hassan said the MCO could boost the country’s birth rate by early next year as the majority of married couples have been confined to their homes together.
She said her extrapolation was based on an unusual number of birth cases reported in Maine and New Hampshire in the United States in 1998, after the two states were in lockdown for a long period due to bad snowstorms.