Single mothers cry foul over alleged Budget 2017 shortcomings

Single-Mothers-Friends'-NetworkPETALING JAYA: Budget 2017 failed to address the problems faced by single mothers, said the Single Mothers Friends’ Network today, adding that their proposals sent to Putrajaya twice, were ignored.

Veronica Anne Ratnam, the coordinator of the group, which is a coalition of NGOS, took the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry to task for not addressing assistance to single mothers earning below RM1,500.

“The allocation for children in this budget averages RM450 per child a month,” she said, adding there was absolutely no increase from previous years.

“While we applaud the increase in the general assistance to RM300, we wonder what were the criteria taken into account,” she said, adding that the budget also left out children below the age of 10, cared for by single mothers.

On the proposals submitted on February 25 and June 16, Veronica said it included a safe home, balanced diet, and learning assistance, such as tuition classes, when their mothers were at work.

They also proposed for “Childrens’ Activity Centres” at every low cost housing area, where psychologists would be present.

“We also suggested low rentals and house purchase subsidies for single mothers.

Veronica insisted that public funds should be prioritised to assist the poor, adding that according to 2010 statistics, there are 830,000 single mothers in the country, and assuming 20 per cent of them earn less than RM1,500, this means that the 166,000 mothers and their children are in need of help.