Monday, March 19, 2007

Single Moms And Late Payments

And Welfare Officers Aint Helping
I have met many single mothers in the low-income group. Most are without jobs because they were homemakers when their husbands left them in the lurch, high and dry, with children to care for.
Some try to make ends meet by taking on jobs they know best like baby-sitting. Some do small businesses like selling nasi lemak. Some do odd jobs --- washing clothes in households or washing dishes in eateries.
Most have to depend on monthly welfare payment for their livelihood.
Now, the word "welfare" does not ring well for me.
Welfare cases with which I had been intimate in the past, had convinced me of the welfare department's inefficiency and ineffectiveness.
I hate generalising. But, I sense a general lack of commitment among most of its staff.
I tried to figure out why. It was not difficult. These people were dealing with welfare cases, with people who were UNDER privileged, who usually had nobody else to turn to.
You know, widows and orphans. Single mothers. They don't know who to turn to when the going gets so tough. And made tougher by bad-attitude welfare department staff.
Such a sense of empowerment these welfare dept staff felt they had. The lot of these people was in their hands.
But, that was years ago.
Perhaps things have changed. Perhaps, now there is dynamism. A renewed sense of commitment and will to help the underprivileged. To just simply do a good job.
I read a report that single mothers in Johor have been faced with delayed monthly payments.
They are entitled to RM300 a month. Yes, RM300. And this has been so delayed, some of these women have had to stop their children from schooling.
This state of affairs is so unacceptable to me.
What makes it even worse is the treatment these women have been getting from some of the welfare department staff.
Some things don't change, really.
Always so easy to mistreat people who have nowhere to turn to but to you. So, you know, (these women have to) deal with it.
Let's hope the Johor exco in charge of social development, Dr Robiah Kosai, keeps her word to resolve the problem.
She said the department is faced with problems of MISSING FILES, acute shortage of manpower and delayed receipt of federal funds.
Oh dear, Dr Robiah. Please tell us something new.


Pi Bani said...

It's the same scenario in every state. And it's the same excuse every time. There are always delays especially at the beginning of each year.

What I don't understand is how they classify each case. Who qualifies for bantuan am, who qualifies for bantuan kanak-kanak. The various cases I've seen, a single mom who also gets late husband's pension, with 3 schooling children, gets RM200/mth; another single mom with no other source of income gets RM115/mth... let me not go into the other cases...

And the time it takes to approve an application... gosh!

That's why I usually get donation from my own networking to help the people under my care. The public must play their part too. We can't leave everything to the government departments.

We'd be guilty too if we don't carry out our social responsibility.

Unknown said...

1. Set a max time limit (must be logical) to approve an application.
2. Drastically cut on the number of forms to fill to help meet the target max time.
3. All money must be disbursed at fix dates.

Job done. It can be done if you set that as your objective. Yes, some will say its easier said than done but I say, If we had worked toward this seriously all these years, it is already done.

Pls for the love of god increase the amount.



you know,everytime govt dept officer tells me it is short of staff, it never ceases to make me wonder, where have you dspatched yr staff members to?
Ok... take the welfare dept. i can't begin to tell you that it was so lacking in so many areas. As i remember. Now, if its was poor in one area, surely it should be better in another and another. But its bad overall. I must say, howver, that i have known at least one very committed and hardworking welfare dept federal director. i suppose as with most govt deparments,the problem is often in the smaller offices. the commitment and dedication dont trickle down. That said, I am sure that there are many other welfare dept officers who are dedicated but whom I had not had the occasion to meet.



that should surely be the objective.

nothing is impossible to a willing heart..
if there's a will, there's a way.
perseverance and determination are the keys to success.
meeting is a pleasure,parting is a pain....whoops,wrong one.

HAH! these are sayings I remember penning in autograph books in primary school. Even as 10 year-olds, many of us could see the wisdom in them.

Unknown said...

Actually,when I first posted this morning, I had and still have many unkind words to say about the civil service, of which I am a part of, but on second thought, I decided to start monday morning on a more positive note.

1 million in the civil service to service about 26 million people and we are short-staffed?

We can start with the MISI and VISI that all government offices so proudly display to the public. Do it and all problems solve.

Less meetings place, most of them serve no purpose.

You do that in primary school? I was in a boys school up to form 5 and we don't do those things because to us it was a girlie thing to do.

zewt said...

RM300 a month? I am totally oblivious to it. But then again, what can one do with RM300 a month... hardly anything really.

It has been too long since anything concrete was done for the betterment of the society. Then again... has anything been done?

Yeah, they should really come up with better excuses. They are getting more and more lame by the days.

Anonymous said...

Good to highlight this Nuraina,

Welfare Department is only one department. Look, I had been paying zakat for since I was born and in states like selangor, its zakat collections is in millions. Yet, we still saw poor struggling families, children skipped schools and their meals in programmes like "bersamamu".

What happened to the money entrusted to them? Construct bigger office? To me this is "tak amanah."

Hi&Lo said...


People who need welfare are as human as anyone of us. They also have human dignity.

To make them beholden to the welfare dept is atrociously inhuman. Their lives are already tough enough compounded by social prejudices.

I know of a single mom looked down by her relatives. Her cousin whom she was very close during childhood had the gumption to warn her to stay away from her husband lest he fall in love with her.

I admire what Pi Bani is doing.

Ordinary Superhero said...

Yes, Dr.Robiah. Tell us something new.

Editor said...

Nuraina, please read my comments to Stephen's post today.(No need to post this)

Unknown said...

I personally think major refurbishment needs to be done in every state about it. I have been hearing the same lame excuses, despite the fact we have so many unemployed graduates (and bloggers too? - ehem!). C'mon! Missing Files?!!! This is really becoming an X-Files cases. Which world are they living in? Far from technology? Not having good office management and record filing? Oh...don't make me start...

Norma Kassim PhD said...

gosh it is not easy to work with single mums..i am one..and involved in a single parent assoc in selangor/kl.. even to get them to attend meeting and also trainings held for them is also difficult.. i think we need volunteers from non single mothers to get the work going... but.. the assistance and money is there.. it is just the officers who are involved with single mothers ( even shariah dept) who need to be more sensitive to their needs...

MarinaM said...

The government has an obligation to assist those of our citizens who need help. That's what the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (under which the Welfare Department comes) should be doing.But it needs revamping in attitude, most of all. The thing is once the public takes on a cause, eg providing children with HIV assistance, the department feels it doesn't have to do it anymore.That's an abdication of responsibility.

Yayasan Amanah Ikhtiar is also supposed to help single mothers through microcredit programmes.But not all single mothers can start an income-generation project just like that when there are other pressing problems. So the Welfare Department still has to step in.

And yes it needs to revamp the quantum of payments it gives out.Some poor families only get about RM75.But we need to also make those in need of help more aware of what's available and how to access it. It's not the easiest thing to do if you have any self-respect so anything to make welfare more user-friendly would be good.

Anonymous said...

I came across the same scenario with a lady friend of mine living in Johore who is a single mother with two children. Her parents have passed away and so was her brother leaving her with a sister. She used to get RM300 allowance from the Welfare Dept but a few months ago, she went to stay with her sister and when she went to collect her allowance, she was told that the Dept official had visited her house and found it empty, so she must have another house and therefore her allowance was cut to RM200 now. What a stupid deduction.

What can you buy with RM200 nowadays. To top that up, shes also an OKU being paralysed half of her body. What a shame with people nowadays who don't have the decent "budi bahasa" anymore.

Anonymous said...

saya pernah menemuramah seorang makcik yang terpaksa menanggung anak dan cucu serta suami yang separuh lumpuh.

mak cik ni terpaksa bekerja keras menghantar anak jiran dan berniaga kecil-kecilan tetapi masih lagi tak mampu menanggung perbelanjaan termasuk membayar ansuran rumah yang dibeli kala muda.

pelbagai bantuan dipohon daripada jabatan yang bertanggungjawab, jawapannya sama, tidak layak. hinggalah ada yang campur tangan dan melaporkan kepada media, barulah wang zakat disalurkan kepada mak cik ni.

persoalan, takkan nak tunggu media 'menyoal siasat' pegawai bertugas baru kerja nak gerak? nak tunggu media 'jolok' exco dan menteri besar baru kerja nak jalan?

takat mana pun kuasa media, sedangkan masih ramai yang nasibnya belum terbela.

kalau takut mereka ini bergantung sangat dengan wang bantuan kebajikan dan zakat, hantarlah mereka mengikuti kursus yang sewajarnya. kursus yang mereka boleh manfaatkan selepas mereka 'lulus'.

Anonymous said...

Dear 3540 Jalan Sudin,

"She said the department is faced with problems of MISSING FILES, acute shortage of manpower and delayed receipt of federal funds."

The same problem is happening in our court system as well.

Please tell us something new

IBU said...

Kak Ena,
Within the vicinity of 'Eye of Malaysia', off jln maran, tasik titiwangsa, there's a shelter house for ibu2 tunggal & anak2 yatim. The last time 'we' did some activities to help raise funds for the house - kena tegur with ..err.. ada la one 'body' tu,"kenapa masuk campur?". Emmm alahai... orang ikhlas nak tolong ibu2 & anak2 tu, tak terniat pun tak prove anything else. Itu pun tak boleh. So near with the glorious 'eye of malaysia'. So near that it fell into a blindspot!!

Anonymous said...

latepayments? I'll tell you their alasan : staff cuti, computer down, tak jumpa claim, "dah hantar ke atas, orang sana yang lambat", tak kan you dah tak ada duit?
these are the things they say when you work part time for them. cuba kalau hujung bulan duit they orang tak masuk, mesti menggelabah punya itu baru gaji orang yang dilengahkan sampai berbulan-bulan.
kalau kebajikan lagi lah!
but I've come across some places yang kalau boleh nak bayar sebelum keringat kering. their payments paling lambat pun 2weeks.

Rockybru said...

Dear Ena,
Pi Bani is right, it's (generally) the same scenario in every state. Take the richest "state" - the Federal Territory. The single mothers are a concern but it is sadder to know motherless children out there in the streets forced to work till the wee hours for their so-called "minders". The Malay Mail/Sunday Mail (and, to a lesser extent, the other papers) used to expose the state of these children and what our welfare authorities were (NOT) doing for them. Shahrizat should know. I am glad you are looking into this issue of single moms. Pls follow up on other related "welfare" issues. Soon yours will be known as "The Blog That Cares"!

Unknown said...

Kak Ena

I think somebody also need to talk about single father lah..sian also kat dorang


Anonymous said...

Dear Madame,

Malaysians in whole need to be educated to respect a human for what they are ! and I say this from my experience being a single parent for the past 6.5 years. No need to judge someone else's moral and ostracize them. this will make many single parents happy, believe you me it does.
Next ,stop thinking children from single parent upbringing are rotten lots.
our children are less priveleged but the beauty of our kids are they are adaptable to the situation of our lifestyle and they strive harder than others. My child is one and I am one PROUD MUM.
Life is not meant to be easy for us ,Life is meant to be LIVEd and we will live and never give up.
My child gives me so much inspiration to overcome obstacles in life and I have no regret being a single parent.


Elly said...


how on earth did the files go missing? after all, these are not merely "files" - we are talking about people's lives here...

Anonymous said...

If there's a will, there's a way!
I remembered that decades ago when the Immigration Department was located near the KTM HQ, in Kuala Lumpur, anyone having transactions with it had to get there at the crack of dawn to line up to obtain service.
Even at this unearthly hour there was a long queue.
Once the door opened, people fought each other to be the first at the counters!
I understand that nowadays one can have a passport ready within two hours!
Imagine, if someone had straightened out things then, life would not be so very miserable!!
It's just a matter of the will to get things done.