‘Some girls are married off at 12’ shock

Shafie (seated middle) posing with Frankie (fourth right), Tangau (fifth left), Safar (third left), Noni (seated left) and MPWS main committee in the event.

KOTA KINABALU: Child marriages are occurring in rural areas in Sabah involving young girls as early as 12, said Health and People’s Wellbeing Minister Datuk Frankie Poon.

He said this worrying situation was revealed in an interactive module for secondary schools version on child marriages (MIPK) that was jointly established by Sabah Women Advisory Council (MPWS) and Sabah Women Affairs Department (Jhewa).

MIPK aims to create more awareness among students on the issue and to educate students on the negative impact of child marriages.

“In exposing child marriages issue to the communitiesm especially in rural areas, MPWS and Jhewa created MIPK in 2018 and I commended their efforts for their success in implementing this important module.

“MIPK facilitators did a roadshow in Kudat, Kota Marudu, Kota Belud, Pitas, Ranau, Tambunan and Kota Kinabalu and I was made to understand that the programme received encouraging response from students and parents.

“A finding from the roadshow showed that child marriages in rural and remote districts in Sabah happened to girls as young as 12,” he said, adding that he hoped that the module could reduce child marriages in the country, including Sabah.

Frankie said this in his speech at the State level Women’s Day celebration themed ‘Balance for Better’ officiated by the Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal here, recently.

He said reaching out to young children like in primary schools is also important so that they, including their parents, could be exposed on the issue.

Due to the positive response to the module, he said MPWS and Jhewa are now in the midst of creating MIPK for primary schools to benefit pupils and be in the know about child marriages issue.

Frankie said the process of creating the interactive module for pupils will be carried out soon and hoped to be published and implemented within this year.

“The State Government via my ministry is committed in cultivating a gender equality perspective by planning and implementing community development programmes. Under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), my ministry was allocated with funds to carry out women development programmes under Jhewa.

“First, the Upgrading Women Information System Electronic (WISE) programme which now has been changed to Digital Electronic Women Information (DeWI) in line with the ministry’s digitalisation Development Initiative Programme.

“DeWI is a database to register information on single mothers, women entrepreneurs and self-employed women,” he said.

So far, Frankie said DeWI registered a total of 5,788 single mothers and 865 working women in Sabah.

Under the 10MP and 11MP, he said Jhewa has been given funds for implementing gender development programmes and next funding would also be given under the 12MP which the department has submitted its application.

On the theme ‘Balance For Better’, he said balance is vital and needed to enjoy the wellbeing in life for men and women where they must work together in building the next generations whom are the future of the nation.

He said the message behind the theme is closely related to roles, rights and responsibilities in carrying out various duties at one time as an individual, wife, mother, daughter and a worker.

Meanwhile, MPWS Chairperson Datuk Noni J. Said reiterated here call that Sabah achieves its policy of 30 per cent women’s participation in decision-making process, which was introduced in 2004, in the public and private sectors.

She believed that women’s roles should not be limited to family institution but also in making important decisions and policy makers in economics and politics.

“I am repeating my request which I often called on concerned authorities since I was the MPWS Chairperson from 1991 to refer the position of Sabah women holding posts at decision-making level.

“The policy to have women’s participation in the decision-making process for Sabah is still far under the 30 per cent target.

“I am calling on the State Government to give support and opportunities for us women to reach the 30 per cent target at leadership posts such as being assemblywomen, State Cabinet members, heads of departments in the public sector and statutory bodies, councillors in local authorities and holding posts of community leaders like native heads at State and district level, among others,” she said.

Noni also called all women NGOs, private companies and village communities to cultivate a practice of celebrating Women’s Day every year that could be organised based on their capabilities, needs and requirements.

She also congratulated several NGOs and private companies that took the initiatives to celebrate the annual Women’s Day 2020 such as Federation of Chinese Association Sabah (FCAS), IKSNITA, Soroptimist and Inanam Point market that held various activities in conjunction with the celebration like health talk, and giving out donations to underprivileged people, among others.

Also present were Shafie’s wife Datuk Shuryani Datuk Shuaib, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau, his wife Datin Seri Datuk Dr Jaina Sintian, State Secretary Datuk Safar Untong and senior officials.

By: Hayati Dzulkifli.

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news/148652/some-girls-are-married-off-at-12-shock/

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