IPOH, May 10 — Girls are getting pregnant out of wedlock as they are bored during school holidays, Deputy Women, Family and Children Development Minister Hannah Yeoh said.
She said this was the feedback obtained by the ministry when visiting homes for pregnant girls.
“They told us during school holidays, they were left alone with nothing to do, no meaningful activities and parents were too busy to engage with their children emotionally,” she said.
Speaking on Bernama News Channel’s The Nation programme today, Yeoh said the ministry encourages parents to engage with their children and be involved in their life.
To halve the some-18,000 unplanned pregnancies among girls, Yeoh said the ministry was working with non-governmental organisations where mothers play a role in educating their sons to respect girls.
On a separate issue, Yeoh said at least 65 childcare centres would be set up at government offices this year.
She said an audit conducted by the ministry found that over 500 government agencies do not have such centres despite a circular in the 1980s mandating such centres to be established.
“People see it as babysitting and it is not important. We want that to stop,” she said, adding the ministry wants to give women the infrastructure for them to be able to function in a workplace.
The Segambut MP said there are a lot of qualified women with university degrees, but once they have children, they quit their job due to the lack of support from their families to care for their children.
“But with childcare at the workplace, they can do both. They do not have to compromise and sacrifice one over the other,” she said, adding that Finance Ministry gave a RM10 million grant to set up the centres.