‘Allow unmarried single parents to apply for govt aid’

Pontian Single Mother Entrepreneurs Association conducting a baking course for single mothers in September 2020 before taking a break.

SINGLE-parent groups in Johor are hoping the government will recognise unmarried individuals with children so that they can benefit from the recently-announced Bantuan Keluarga Malaysia (BKM) financial aid.

JiShan Single Mother Club chairman Goh Teck Kuan said unmarried single parents faced difficulties in applying for government aid as they were required to either produce a divorce certificate or their spouse’s death certificate.

Goh (right) handing some basic items to a single mother in Taman Ungku Tun Aminah, Johor Baru.Goh (right) handing some basic items to a single mother in Taman Ungku Tun Aminah, Johor Baru.

“I hope the Social Welfare Department will allow unmarried mothers and fathers to register and be part of the government’s single-parent database.

“The government should also understand that not all single parents can produce proof of salary, which is a requirement for aid application, because many of these individuals can only afford part-time work.

“They have to juggle taking care of their children and other commitments, making it difficult for them to hold a full-time job,” he said.

Goh also suggested for the government to allow the individuals to obtain proof of income for their part-time job from their respective district offices.

Under the BKM scheme outlined in Budget 2022, an allocation of RM2,000 will be given to households – with three or more children – earning less than RM2,500 monthly income.

An additional RM500 will be given to single parents with children and a monthly income of up to RM5,000 as part of the BKM, which is an improvement to the previous Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR).

This means that single mothers and fathers with more than three children are eligible for a maximum aid of RM2,500.

Pontian Single Mother Entrepreneurs Association chairman Apipah Ismail said opening the aid application to unmarried single parents would be an inclusive move.

“Not all single parents are divorced or have a deceased spouse.

“We should recognise that these individuals need assistance as well.

“Much like my association, founded in 2010, where we accept single mums of all races and religions – whether they have been married or not – we do not practise discrimination against single parents and aim to provide opportunities to women who want to learn skills to become more financially independent,” she said.

Apipah added that the association was planning to restart its activities, such as short courses for baking, sewing and running an online business, soon. — By YEE XIANG YUN

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