While there are many Sarawakians who are keeping up with progress of the modern age, a few are still left behind. The citizens in this East Malaysian state are increasingly enjoying good quality of life. However, there are those who live less privileged lives. They include poor families, the physically or mentally challenged and those who have little to no access to infrastructures like schools and medical institutions that would otherwise allow them to live good lives.
The Ministry of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Sarawak (KWKPK) is tasked to not only alleviate the situation mentioned above, but so much more than that. Under the helm of its Minister Yang Berhormat Dato Sri Hajah Fatimah Abdullah, KWKPK has been tirelessly working towards the betterment of the society in Sarawak.
The Ministry began operations in January of 2012. It was then known as KKWPK (Ministry of Welfare, Women and Family Development). It was renamed to KKWKK (Ministry of Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing) in May 2016. In May 2017, following a cabinet reshufﬂe after the appointment of Datuk Patinggi (Dr) Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg as the 6th Chief Minister of Sarawak, the Ministry was again renamed. With a new name (KWKPK) came new sets of responsibilities. On top of mitigating on-going social issues, it now deals with matters pertaining to children as well. These include everything from early childhood education to the development of children in Sarawak.
In addition to the above, KWKPK also has new responsibilities as the watching brief for matters relating to registration of marriage, divorce and domestic violence, registration of birth and death, welfare organisations under the Federal law, census, National Unity and Integration Department (JPNIN), Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation (NCPF) Sarawak Chapter, Malaysian National Service Programme (JLKN) and the Anti-Drug Association of Malaysia (PEMADAM).
Reaching out to the people
With an aim to better inform members of the general public on the Ministry’s roles and functions, KWKPK held an Open Day on Feb 3 & 4, 2018 at the Kuching Waterfront. The Open Day was launched by the Chief Minister, who attended the opening ceremony with his wife, Datin Patinggi Dato Hajah Jum’ani Tun Tuanku Haji Bujang.
With its theme ‘Meniti Kesejahteraan Bersama’ (Wellbeing, Wellness), the Open Day was a means to disseminate information and offer services relating to social development, while also building rapport and strengthening ties with the Ministry’s strategic partners.
“The Ministry is fully aware that it is not always easy to showcase the day-to-day work, functions and roles of the Ministry, and the parts played by our team of individuals who want to make a difference to the life of Sarawakians, through the provision of quality social support services,” said Fatimah in her speech at the launching ceremony.
“In a nutshell, our Open Day is a social network initiative meant for individuals and groups to achieve things that they could not do on their own in the context of welfare, community wellbeing, women, family and childhood development.”
In her speech, Fatimah also updated the public on the Ministry’s tasks and undertakings. One of those tasks is to conduct a research, whose results, along with empirical proofs from strategic partners will help the Ministry to set its next course of action for its future plans.
Through this, nine issues have been identiﬁed, including drugs and substance abuse, STI and HIV, teen pregnancy, marriage and divorce, sexual offences against children and women and petty crimes, among others.
“This year, the Ministry will conduct six studies to acquire fact-based inputs that will determine our principles, programmes and activities so the Ministry will be able to handle some of the issues that have been identiﬁed more effectively,” she explained. “Among them are the Kajian Indeks Kesejahteraan Sosial Sarawak (Social Wellbeing Index Study), to measure the level of social wellbeing in Sarawak; identifying social domains inﬂuencing the lives of Sarawakians; and to draw up action plans for social transformation that will enhance the quality of life for the people of Sarawak.”
She said an indigenous or localised Social Wellbeing Index Study, which is in accordance to the sociocultural context of the people of Sarawak, was an invaluable social investment.
Fatimah also stated the Ministry’s intention to fully utilise advanced technology and communications to not only enhance the quality of their social data management, but also widen their reach and the dissemination of information regarding KWKPK’s social support services, such as their JWKS HELPLINE 1-800-225566 / 082-448866.
Other highlights included the Ministry’s Micro Entrepreneur Welfare Programme and the 1AZAM Programme, which have been successful in helping the less privileged stand on their own two feet; KWKPK’s plans to cut pregnancy in teens; making sure that children in kindergartens study in conducive environments; tapping into children’s potentials through programmes like Sarawak Kids’ Got Talent; cleanliness programme called BaBa and their Go Green project; and so many other programmes and plans for the year ahead.
“We need to make sure the needy also beneﬁt from every economic and infrastructure transformation initiative taken by the Government in the bid to achieve a developed Sarawak by the year 2030,” Fatimah concluded.
The KWKPK Open House 2018 included a dialogue with the community, where the public was encouraged to share their thoughts and suggestions with the Ministry. There was also an expo held over the two-day event, with rows of exhibition booths showcasing everything from social services, fashion and make-up tutorials to children’s activities, food carving and foot massages. If that wasn’t enough, there were even food trucks, with splendid selections of mouth-watering morsels. A performance by the P. Ramlee Fan Club brought some nostalgia to the two-day event, which drew scores of visitors from Kuching and throughout Sarawak.
Meanwhile, to show appreciation to its strategic partners and alliances, KWKPK held a “Thank You Night with the Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Sarawak” on Feb 14 at Imperial Hotel, Kuching. The Thank You night, with Fatimah as the Guest of Honour, also coincided with Valentine’s Day, and Chinese New Year that fell on Feb 16.
“The Ministry’s efforts and undertakings would not have been possible without cooperation from our strategic partners, some of whom are present tonight,” said Fatimah when speaking at the event. The Minister also launched KWKPK’s ofﬁcial corporate video at the juncture.
“The video offers a look at the services by the Ministry as well as those made available by various departments under the Ministry, namely the Department of Women and Family Sarawak, Department of Welfare Sarawak, Social Development Commission and Early Childhood Development Unit, plus some of the programmes that we do together with our strategic partners.”
KWKPK’s Permanent Secretary, Dr. Saadiah Bt Haji Abdul Samat, who also spoke at the event, said, “Tonight is our appreciation night for all that have tirelessly worked with us, hand in hand, through thick and thin despite all the challenges in giving the best services to the rakyat, including empowering the rakyat so that they can enhance their standard of living. I know that this is a never-ending task and responsibility, and there are still lots to be done for the people of Sarawak before we can call ourselves a developed State.”
Another highlight of the night was the presentation of PETRONAS grants to local NGOs at the event, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Meanwhile, guests were entertained by specially invited performers as well as the Ministry’s own staff members.
“The message that we want to get across (through the involvement of the staff in the night’s performances) is that in the Ministry, we work together. It doesn’t matter what position you hold in the Ministry… everybody is the same. We are a big family,” Fatimah said proudly.
Also present at the Thank You night were Assistant Minister for Community Wellbeing, Datuk Francis Harden Hollis and Assistant Minister for Women, Family and Childhood Development, Puan Rosey Haji Yunus.
KWKPK is on the right path to what it sets out to accomplish, and will continue to strive to keep to its vision and mission of sustaining community wellbeing for a digniﬁed existence for all, by efﬁciently managing the welfare of the community, upholding the position of women, strengthening the family institution and embracing the early childhood development inclusively and holistically.
MINISTRY OF WELFARE, COMMUNITY WELLBEING, WOMEN, FAMILY AND CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT SARAWAK (KWKPK)
Ground Floor, Baitul Makmur Building, Petra Jaya, Sarawak, 93050 Kuching, Sarawak.
Tel: +6082 449 140
Fax: +6082 444 331