By Karen Bong
KUCHING, March 9: Approaches to improve and empower women needed to be more focussed to achieve positive outcomes that are reflected in their socio-economic status.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said among the issues that needed to be tackled was the economic standing of women.
“With sufficient funds, certainly other problems on the side can be overcome. We can mitigate the other issues that perhaps could affect marriage due to financial instability in the family.
“There is a way to manage a family and that is similar to managing a country. There must be enough budget in order to balance and meet the needs of a family, which in turn will ensure a happy family,” he added.
Abang Johari highlighted this at the presentation of grants to women entrepreneurs, launching of ePreneurs Wanita app and Empowered Women Forum held in conjunction with the state-level International Women’s Day celebration at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here this morning.
Hence, the question of empowerment, he pointed out, was the ability to increase the family income, which can be done as Sarawak has the resources but lacking in talents.
He, however, said talents could be discovered, nurtured and trained.
“It is for this reason that the state government allocated RM500,000 for a seed funding programme last year. With training provided for women, today we see that it has become their tools to create a stream of income to support themselves and their families,” he added.
Following the success of the programme, Abang Johari announced an allocation of RM1 million for this year.
He also commended the Ministry of Welfare, Community Well Being, Women, Family and Childhood Development for coming up with an ePreneurs Wanita app to promote and market products and services.
“That’s why I provided a special allocation (last year) of RM5 million to build an incubator for women’s development in entrepreneurship at Kota Samarahan.
“The facility is currently under construction. This incubator will allow women to adopt new methods through technology to promote and market their products and services, whether from home or village to the domestic and international markets,” he elaborated.
Women, he noted, were also proficient in social media platforms, which can be utilised to promote their products and services.
He encouraged women to be creative and innovative in coming up with their own creations, be it food or fashion, which they could push through mobile applications and generate income.
“We create an ecosystem by providing space and new technology to empower women. With ability, this will help strengthen the family institution and they can then contribute to building a stronger nation,” he said.
He urged women to work together to enhance their socio-economic standing to become a force in building Sarawak and Malaysia as a whole.
“By 2030, we want to turn Sarawak into a centre of economic activities in Malaysia, especially with the 2018-2022 Digital Economy policy,” he told those present.
The chief minister’s wife, Datin Patinggi Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang, Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, Minister of Welfare, Community Well-Being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah and husband, Datu Dr Adi Badiozaman Tuah, State Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar and Assistant Minister of Community Well-being Datuk Francis Harden Hollis were among those present.— DayakDaily