PETALING JAYA: Many point to women’s entry into the workforce and delayed pregnancy as being key drivers of Malaysia’s falling fertility rate.
However, young Malaysians are citing the high cost of living and work commitment as their reason for limiting to one child or not having kids altogether.
For public relations executive Jacqueline Rozario, 37, who has been married for eight years, remaining childless was a financial decision.
“Earlier in the marriage, we calculated how much it would take to properly raise a child and we realised we couldn’t afford to do so.
“Our decision is also partly due to overpopulation. Someday, if we decide on and are capable of having children, perhaps it would be better to adopt,” she said.
Rozario and her husband did not consider being childless as a concern when they are much older and might need someone to look after them.
“We have put some money aside for our retirement. We enjoy each other’s company and we have nieces and nephews for when we are old and grey,” she said.
Rozario is a little concerned that Malaysia is moving towards an ageing population.
“But the way automation is taking over, I think eventually the situation will balance itself out,” she said.
After having her daughter five years ago, sales executive Nur Faizatul Akmal Saharudin, 28, decided to stop at one child considering the steep cost of living.
Nur Faizatul, whose husband who works as a front desk manager at a hotel, said having more children would mean forking out cash for babysitters.
“I have limited time for my family since I work full-time. Giving birth was also a traumatic experience,” said Nur Faizatul, whose child is being cared for by her in-laws.
Eizzul, 25, plans to get married within three years but has decided with his partner, who is a doctor, not to have children.
“We don’t plan to have children. One of the reasons is because both of us have very busy schedules with our current jobs.
“We want to take care of our children ourselves, not rely on others,” said Eizzul, who works in the media.
He and his partner have also decided to rely on themselves and their pension when they are retired.
Communications executive Anis, 27, plans to have no more than two children once she is married, but might also forgo having children altogether.
“The cost of living is so high but the wage stays the same. How do we raise a kid? I’ve seen examples of my ageing family members who live by themselves or with a maid or a nurse. I think I want to go on that route,” she said.
Student researcher Eddy Musa, 28, prefers adoption.
“I don’t want to bring another individual into this world, especially when there are those already here in dire need of support.
“Hence, I am looking forward to adoption one day, though that in itself is very difficult because of Malaysia’s regulations,” said Eddy.