KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 — The government gave out special awards today to seven Malaysians in recognition of their dedication and commitment to uphold the family and inspire others to cherish the most basic unit of society.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail noted that many families today faced challenges in staying together, with marriages increasingly ending in divorce and resulting in break-ups and other social and mental health problems such as domestic violence, drug addiction, depression and even suicide — all of which economically impact a nation’s progress.
“There are many positive examples out there of families who have endured hardship and managed to come out on top.
“It is hoped that presenting them with the Special Malaysian Family Award will serve to show others how they can do the same as well,” she said during the awards presentation at the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre here.
Among the seven award recipients were Che Sabariah Abd Hamid, 57, from Perlis who single-handedly raised 13 children, 63-year old housewife Yow Guat Kee, who looks after her disabled adult son and 81-year old S. Arumugam from Negri Sembilan who has been married to the same woman for 63 years and counting.
Dr Wan Azizah who is also Women, Family and Community Development minister cited government data showing the divorce rates among men and women in their 30s to be at 22.3 per cent and 23.4 per cent respectively as at 2017.
She also noted that the Social Welfare Department recorded 3,913 cases of domestic violence from 2015 until June this year.
“Many factors contribute to this, including hot-temperedness, misunderstanding, drug addiction, jealousy and trust, financial woes and others.
“Aggravating this is the rising trend of depression or mental issues, which contributes to suicides.
“Based on the National Health and Morbidity Study 2017, 18.3 per cent of those aged 13 to 17 are depressed, with an increase in suicides to 10 per cent for 2017 compared to 7.9 per cent in 2012,” Dr Wan Azizah said.
She added that for secondary school students aged 13 to 17, the Health Ministry recorded 356 cases from 2014 until June this year.