KUCHING, June 11 — The declining birth rate in Sarawak is a concern to the Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah.
She said Sarawak’s birth rate had declined for three straight years since 2019.
She said that in 2019, the total births in Sarawak were 33,304 but it dropped to 31,176 in 2020.
“Based on the total number of births obtained from the National Registration Department last year, the number had dropped to 24,081 last year.
“The declining trend since 2019 is a concern to us,” she said.
The issue of fertility is one of issues that is close to the heart of our ministry,” she told a press conference when a delegation from Sunway Medical Centre called on her yesterday.
Fatimah said her ministry would continue to closely monitor the birth rate in Sarawak, including births by non-Sarawakian women married to Sarawakian men.
The number of babies born out of non-Sarawakian mothers also reflected the same trend over the same period.
“There is a downward trend as well among non-Sarawakian mothers in terms of birth rates. It is a concern to us in the ministry.
“Today (yesterday) I was briefed by Sunway delegates that since its fertility centre was set up in Kuching the response from couples have been very encouraging,” she said.
Its resident fertility specialist, Dr Edawati Dahrawi Edrus, said there were several reasons for the drop in birth rate.
Among them was the delay by women in getting married due to work and studies commitment.
She said normally the peak age for women to conceive was between 25 and 35 years old.
“After 35 the chances of women getting pregnant upon marriage drops to about 80 per cent. Another factors are sicknesses and diseases,” she said. — Borneo Post Online