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5 Initiatives for WOMEN You Didn’t Know About!

Updated 17 Mar 2021 – By Team Loanstreet


It’s pretty common to hear (even in today’s modern society) stories of women facing discrimination almost daily. The wage gap, street harassment, equal division of childcare, media representation and discrimination in the workforce. In some countries, women need to pay tax for their sanitary products, a basic necessity. This happened in Malaysia too up until 2018 when the government decided to exempt the said products from tax. But, that's not the end of discrimination that's happening around the world.

So much so that International Women’s Day carries the theme of #ChooseToChallenge. Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist once explained, "The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights."

In the spirit of this campaign, we’ve decided to take a look at initiatives that are aimed exclusively at Malaysian women: to assist, empower and make a positive difference for all of them.

 

1. FREE Breast Cancer Screening

Did you know that Malaysian women are more inclined to develop cancer as compared to men? According to the Health Ministry’s Malaysian Study on Cancer Survival (MySCan), between the years of 2007 and 2011, there were 99.3 cases per 100,000 people involving females, whereas for males it was at 86.9 cases.


 

Where to check? Haa, why not apply for SOCSO Health Screening Programme (if you guys are a member)! They'll give you the voucher once you've reached 40 years old. You could even do a pap smear. Unfortunately, this programme is currently postponed to make way for Prihatin Screening Programme (thanks to our reader Sook Ngee Belinda Sim for informing us!).

FYI, in partnership with the National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM), Etiqa has launched its Free Mammogram Programme – Phase 4 for 6,000 underprivileged women aged 40 and above. In a statement, Etiqa and NCSM said the one-year nationwide programme is worth RM2.04 million and falls under Etiqa Cares, Etiqa’s flagship corporate responsibility commitment towards healthy living.

Eligible women and interested community leaders are encouraged to call NCSM at 03-2698 7300 for more enquiries.

 

2. Single mothers, you don’t have to stand alone

It must've been tough to be a single mother. You're expected to have it all together. Worry no more because under the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, single mothers can apply to receive temporary financial assistance (duration: 1 year) that are designed to ease some of their burdens. The minimum amount given out is RM100 per child, per month; and the maximum amount is RM450 per month if there are more than 4 children.



Also, single mothers can apply to receive financial assistance from the respective state that they live in. However, the amount will differ since each state has its allocation, as well as eligibility requirements. For example, Selangor has a welfare programme for mothers from the lower-income group (Group B40) called Kasih Ibu Smart Selangor (KISS).

With this programme, it allows participants to purchase necessities worth RM200 monthly at the registered shops and supermarkets. To register and know more about it, click here.

 

3. There's an incentive of RM480 ​​per year for housewives

Yup, this incentive is only for housewives or Ketua Isi Rumah Wanita (KIR) who register for the Caruman Sukarela Insentif Suri (i-Suri), where all they need to do is deposit a minimum of RM5 into their retirement savings accounts every month.



Besides the annual RM480 incentives, They’ll also be able to enjoy annual EPF dividends as well as death benefits. For more info, visit EPF's website here.

READ: What Could Possibly Happen If There's No EPF?

 

4. There's an SME Bank funding for women entrepreneurs

Calling all female SME owners, it’s time for you to show the world who’s boss! You now get to enjoy funding that’s dedicated to assisting you to expand and grow your business further. The unique programme is called MySMELady, offered by SME Bank, which is wholly owned by the Malaysian Ministry of Finance and regulated by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).



You get to receive financing from RM500,000 up to RM3 million. To be eligible, here are some of the requirements to meet:
  • Meets Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) definition.
  • ≥ 51% of the equity held by a woman/women OR CEO/MD is a woman that owns at least 10% of the equity.
  • The business is owner-operated.
  • Financing purpose and business activities must be in compliance with Shariah principles
  • Business is registered with SSM or other authorised authorities/ district offices or professional statutory bodies.
  • The Company has been in operations for at least one (1) year
  • Meet the eligibility criteria of SJPP’s guarantee schemes.
 

5. Tax exemptions for women returning to work

In Budget 2020, the gahmen proposed that the income tax exemption on employment income for women returning to work after a career break to be extended by a period of four (4) years (see Special Tax Alert: Highlights of 2020 Budget). To legislate this extension, the (Income Tax (Exemption) (No. 9) Order 2019) (Amendment) Order 2020 was gazetted on 30 January 2020.



The Amendment Order provides that the incentive will now apply to applications received by Talent Corporation Malaysia Berhad (TalentCorp) between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2023. The incentive is available from the year of assessment (YA) 2018 to YA 2024.

To know more about the Career Comeback Tax Exemption, CLICK HERE.

 

We salute all the ladies out there!

It’s no easy feat for women to battle for their equality in a male-dominated society, more so to juggle the role of mother/daughter/wife/sister. But with these government-run initiatives, it’s at least a positive step in the correct direction for womenfolk all over the country. Let’s hope there are more substantial female-targeted initiatives rolling out in the near future!

So, how will you #ChooseToChallenge?
 
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