KUCHING, July 6 — Sarawak’s birth rate dropped by half last year with only 20,000 births recorded compared to about 40,000 in previous years. Deputy Premier Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian said the low birth rate could likely be due to urbanisation, increasing levels of education and work pressure.

“Despite the (Sarawak) government giving them (married couples) incentives (to have children), it (the solution) is not that straightforward,” he said when officiating at the opening of the Sunway Traditional and Complementary Medicine Centre and the Sunway Fertility Centre here today.

He was referring to the incentives under the Sarawak Endowment Fund that provides an allocation of RM1,000 per newborn child and maternity assistance of RM450 since 2017. Dr Sim was also appreciative of the Sunway Group’s move to run a fertility centre in Sarawak, the second such centre in the country, which he added could help overcome the issue of declining births in the state.

“There is a small group (married couples) who have fertility issues and need treatment, (regardless) of scientific treatment like Western medicine or traditional methods, and I want to thank Sunway for your commitment and support for Sarawak,” he added. — Bernama