By Balqis Jazimah Zahari
Photos by: Rosli Mansor Ahmad Razali
KUALA KANGSAR: Statistics record Perak as the state with the second highest total number of single mothers after the state of Selangor.
State Women, Family, Social Welfare and Entrepreneur Development Committee chairman, Salbiah Mohamed said the data from the 2020 Malaysian Population and Housing Census Main Findings report showed that the number of single mothers in the state of Perak was 110,778 (11.8%).
“The state of Perak is the second highest state after Selangor for the total number of single mothers in the country which is 940,735 people.
“The number of single mothers in Perak also amounts to nine percent of the female population in the state and of that number, 89,730 people (81%) are single mothers whose husbands have died and the rest are separated or divorced (19%),” she said when speaking in conjunction The Ilham Mataku (Inspiration of My Eye) Exhibition and Workshop ‘Expression from the Heart’, which was officiated by the Raja Puan Muda Perak, Tunku Soraya Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah who agreed to attend the Casuarina Kuala Kangsar Hotel yesterday.
Also present were the Chairman of HeArt & Craft, Raja Putra Shah; Art Case Gallery’s Chief Mentor, Curator Anderson International Artist, Raja Azhar Idris; The founder of Al Najwa Production Sdn Bhd, Datuk Zunaidah Idris and the Chairman of the Pertubuhan Wanita Prihatin Perak (PWPP) or Perak Concerned Women’s Organisation, Noorzita Rabaai.
Salbiah said, according to studies by the ministry and academics, among the issues and challenges faced by single mothers are issues of poverty, social problems, emotional stress management, children’s discipline problems and adapting to changing family institutions.
She also said, during the event, “There is no denying that the development and empowerment of single mothers is still lagging behind, but the State Government has taken various initiatives to help this group.
“The State Government has determined that every initiative that cares for the people, whether it is a programme in the form of direct assistance or self-development, must involve a group of single mothers with at least 30 percent participation,” she said.
She said, for example, the Perak Sejahtera Card initiative, which helps to buy RM90 kitchen items every month, saw a total of 8,049 people (42%) of the recipients were from the single mother group.
“In fact, 40 percent of the recipients of business equipment assistance under the Biznita programme and cash assistance from the M2 Programme are also single mothers,” she said.