Minister: Curiosity, peer pressure among contributing factors to teen pregnancy in Sarawak

Fatimah (front row, second right) during the Sarawak Social Development Council (MPS) meeting. Photo credit: KPWKM

KUCHING, March 21: Curiosity and peer pressure are among the major contributing factors to teenage pregnancies in Sarawak, said Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah during the first Sarawak Social Development Council (MPS) meeting for this year today.

The Minister of Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development (KPWKM) said that due to the alarming hike in out-of-wedlock pregnancies among teenagers in Sarawak, the council collaborated with Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) to research the subject matter last year.

“Most teenagers want to try new things, and promiscuity among them is one of the causes of the high rate of pregnancy.

“Peer pressure was also present in some cases, which included the exchange of pornographic materials, meeting through social media, substance abuse, and social activities,” she said, adding that some were no longer interested in studying.

Other reasons included teenage marriages, incest, statutory rape, and customary marriages.

According to her, the study also discovered three factors that influence a pregnant teenager’s experiences.

“The first factor is self-identity, which includes feelings of being backward, helpless, and sorry, whereas the second factor is self-motivation, which they see as a learning process and a need for independence.

“The third factor is self-doubt, in which they are afraid of not being accepted by their parents or partners, and some believe they are a burden to their family, stigma from the community, and feeling unwanted,” she stated.

She suggested that strategies such as sex education, career planning, and community awareness of the effects of teen pregnancy be implemented to help educate and guide teenagers. — DayakDaily