Family First: Federal Govt's Commitment to Family Institutions.
MIRI, Oct 19 — In a move to counter the Western trend of eroding the institution of marriage, the federal government is emphasizing the importance of mental health and the robustness of family structures, announced Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.
She highlighted the ongoing initiatives and programs aimed at raising awareness, educating, and equipping people from all societal strata. The goal is to mitigate this western trend's impact on Malaysian familial quality and values.
“Our aim is to arm our society with the right skills to navigate and address the myriad challenges of modern times,” Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri mentioned during her address at the commencement of the national Family Counselling Symposium with the theme ‘21st Family Well-being’ that spanned two days.
Conveying her message through the National Population and Family Development Board director-general Datuk Ahmad Shukor Abdullah, she noted that the conventional Malaysian paradigm of a robust family structure seems outdated in today's fast-paced world.
She highlighted that while life was once predictable, evolving times have brought about shifts, putting more strain on the mental health of individuals within marriages and families.
The Western world has been grappling with the dissolution of the traditional marriage concept, marked by a decline in marriage rates. This shift stems from changing perceptions about marriage, different forms of partnerships, and shifts in societal norms that traditionally steered family formation.
Factors contributing to this trend include higher divorce rates, births outside of marriage, cohabitation prior to marriage, and the socio-economic implications of women joining the workforce.
“We see the repercussions of this trend in the West and are determined to prevent its spread in areas like Sarawak,” she remarked.
For a flourishing Malaysia, Nancy underscored the significance of ensuring sound mental health and a supportive family ecosystem where relationships remain tight-knit and the family acts as a bastion for its members.
She also extended her appreciation to counseling professionals from various agencies. Their relentless efforts in assisting communities tackle daily life pressures have made them invaluable pillars of support.
She emphasized the nation's increasing need for devoted counselors who possess compassion, a genuine desire to assist, trustworthiness, and a comprehensive grasp of both foundational and contemporary counseling theories and methods.
In a preceding address, Sarawak Islamic Affairs Department deputy director Ahmad Sukarno Saini observed that the symposium, aligned with Sarawak’s 60th year of independence, offers crucial tools for Muslim families to adapt to urbanization and contemporary challenges.
He commented on Malaysia's socio-economic progress and its varied implications on society, notably the surge in mental health challenges affecting individuals and their extended communities.
The symposium, attracting 450 attendees from Malaysia and Brunei, will feature nine insightful papers and dialogues over its duration. — Borneo Post.