In conjunction with International Women’s Day 2012, the Perak State government and Perak Bar Committee organised a seminar for single mothers. The objective of the seminar, held on Saturday, May 5 at the multi-purpose hall of the State Secretariat Building, Ipoh, was the creation of national policies to protect them.
Presently, the definition of “single mothers” is very loose. It has several meanings – a widow who is bringing up her children, a divorcee with young children, a woman who is separated from her husband and a woman in the process of a divorce. The criteria are an absent husband and children to raise.
Once guidelines are established, government agencies can make a more accurate assessment and target those who are in need of assistance. Funds can also be set up specifically for this group of women.
The Perak Bar Committee proposed that the term “janda”, which means widow or divorcee in Bahasa Malaysia, be replaced with “armalah”, an Arabic word which carries the same meaning. This is to remove the stigma faced by those in such a situation, as “janda” is rather derogatory.
As single mothers face a lot of challenges and discrimination, the state government, with legal advice from the Perak Bar Committee, is pushing for the betterment and welfare of these women. The poor attendance at the seminar prompted the Chairman of Perak Bar Committee, Vivekanandan Periasamy, to express his disappointment in his opening remarks.
Vivekanandan handed over a book of five resolutions to the guest of honour, Dato’ Hamidah Osman, Executive for Women’s Affairs, who would forward it to the Chief Minister.
Professor Dr Dasimah Omar spoke on the theme of the seminar, “Your Resilience, My Inspiration”.