Fatimah: Sarawak has second highest number of teen pregnanies

Datuk Sri Fatimah Abdullah (sitting in the centre) with participants at the Parenting Teenagers Course.

KUCHING, April 5: Sarawak has the second highest number of teenage pregnancies in the country after Sabah.

A total of 2,130 teenage pregnancies were recorded in Sarawak in 2017, raising concerns about social ills and problems among teenagers.

Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah said most cases were caused by promiscuity and easy access to pornographic materials.

“However, there is a steady decrease in the number of teenage pregnancies compared to 2013 which recorded 4,079 cases. In 2017, we also see a decrease in 10 districts in the state. The awareness programmes and campaigns by the government and non
-governmental organisations (NGOs) are certainly bearing favourable results,” Fatimah said at the Parenting Teenagers Courses closing ceremony last night.

Another issue of concern that warrants immediate attention is the problem of drug abuse among the young generation in Sarawak.

In 2017, out of 1,516 students in 85 schools tested, 112 tested positive for illegal drugs.

“The issue of juvenile delinquency is a world phenomenon and our country is not spared from this growing problem.

“Social problems such as juvenile delinquency are escalating and it needs our urgent attention and intervention, not only from the government but also parents, community bodies and NGOs,” Fatimah said, adding that various research has shown three main factors that contribute to social ills among teenagers, namely, family, socioeconomic class and educational experience.

She added that the quality of a marriage is a powerful factor, as it determines the dynamics of the family which affects the behaviours of adolescents in schools and society.

“There is a positive correlation between maritial disharmony and children adjustment problems in the course of the parent-child relationship. Although not all problematic children are from divorced families, but many are actually from dysfunctional families.”

She said these children are exposed to their parents’ marital conflicts, incompatible personality, relationship dissatisfaction and even violence, which in turn, may lead to negative personality traits such as aggressiveness, impulsivity, negative attitudes towards school or academic achievement and even cause them to experience peer rejection.

Meanwhile, the department has partnered with Alpha Malaysia Sarawak to run Parenting Teenagers and Marriage courses.

Through these courses, couples are enriched and enlightened with knowledge and information to gain relationship skills in strengthening their marriages and in raising up their children in a more effective way.

“These are our combined endeavours and efforts in building up stronger, healthier and happy families so that we can have a happy society and a happy nation,” Fatimah concluded. — DayakDaily