Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim
PUTRAJAYA: The Government is thinking of giving incentives to married couples to have as many children as possible as a means of addressing the low fertility rate.
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim said the country’s fertility rate had decreased from three children per woman in 2000 to 2.1 in 2012.
She said a reason for this decline was due to women delaying marriage for the sake of their career.
“A low fertility rate will affect our workforce and this will become apparent in 20 or 30 years’ time. We must address this now and the idea of giving incentives is still being studied,” she said after opening the National Populace Conference here yesterday.
Rohani said several countries including Singapore had such incentives, where parents of newborns received a cash gift of SG$6,000 (RM15,460) for each of the couple’s first two children. Other than paternity leave, the financial incentive rises to SG$8,000 (RM20,610) for the couple’s third and fourth babies.
Singapore’s total fertility rate fell to 1.19 last year compared to 1.29 in 2012.
On a separate note, Rohani welcomed Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun as another deputy minister whom she said would further strengthen her ministry.
“This ministry covers a very big area with a huge responsibility, and there are just too many things that we want to do or must do.
“With another deputy minister, not only can we plan more activities, but we can execute our programmes well,” she said.
Rohani’s current deputy is Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun.