KUCHING: Every Sarawakian newborn will receive RM1,000 from the state’s endowment fund starting this year as part of a new social policy, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
The one-off incentive, which can only be cashed when the child turns 18, is meant for the recipient to further his or her higher education, or to help them start a career.
“This is a new approach in our social policy. I have come across cases of Sarawakian students with good results who are unable to enter university because of financial constraints.
“So, we decided that each newborn Sarawakian child will receive RM1,000 regardless of race, religion or social status so that by the time they are 18, they will have some funds to help them get started in university,” he said when presenting the incentive to the parents of 55 babies born in the first week of January here yesterday.
The endowment fund was announced during the tabling of the state budget last November. To be eligible, the child must be born in the state to Sarawakian parents.
Abang Johari said the state government had allocated RM40mil for the fund this year, based on statistics which showed an average of 40,000 babies born in a year.
He pledged to continue with the incentive for as long as he was the chief minister.
“We want to share the state’s wealth with the people so that they will have a bright future,” he said.
Falisca Sanatha, who gave birth to identical twin girls on Jan 2, said she was thankful for the incentive.
“It will be very useful for my daughters’ education in the future," said the 35-year-old.
Elissa Rutien, 34, also planned to use the incentive for her child's education.
“I feel fortunate to receive it for my daughter,” she said of her baby, who was born on New Year’s Day.