Friday, March 11, 2016

Sarawak increases welfare aid to help with living costs

Ahead of the impending state election, Sarawak has increased the amount of welfare aid for recipients across the state, its welfare minister announced today. Women, Welfare, and Family Development state minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah said the increase was a "top-up" to help people cope with the rising cost of living. "Sarawak is the only state in Malaysia that is giving 'top-up' in welfare assistance. We are grateful to our Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem because this is what the people have been waiting for – an increase in financial assistance for the disadvantaged and needy. "The cost of living has increased, meaning the amount given has to increase as well," Fatimah said after the department's monthly meeting. The department's current general assistance which ranges from RM150-RM250 has been increased to RM200-RM300. "The monthly assistance for a working disabled person (OKU) has also been increased by RM50 to RM350, while the assistance for unemployed OKU is RM250." Poor families with children will get RM150 per child, an increase from the previous rate of RM100, up to a maximum of RM500. Fatimah also announced an allocation of RM15,075,410 to 55,341 recipients to the state welfare department's recipients this year under various assistance schemes. Sarawak is expected to hold elections for the 82 seats in its legislative assembly in April. Fatimah today also said the state government was studying "grey areas" in native customary laws on marriages which discriminated against women. She said the customary marriages under the Native Customs Council  lacked provisions for maintenance for the wife in the event of a divorce. "We are looking into it. We need to do an in-depth study and amend the law." Native couples in Sarawak, which has a myriad of tribal groups, can choose to get married according to indigenous customs or register a civil marriage with the National Registration Department The validity of the civil marriage, however, takes precedence over the "adar" or customary marriage rites. – March 11, 2016.]]>

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