Social Security Bill for housewives draws flak

PETALING JAYA: While the Housewives’ Social Security Bill 2022, meant to protect housewives has been lauded, it has not gone down well with some.

This is mainly because of a clause in the bill, which is deemed an insult to housewives.

Former Women, Family and Community Development Deputy Minister Hannah Yeoh told theSun: “I agree that this bill is needed to protect housewives. But the numbers mentioned end up insulting the very women it is meant to protect.”

Yeoh, who is Segambut member of Parliament, said the problem is that the government tabled the bill in Parliament on the assumption that a housewife’s chores are valued at only RM600 a month.

The bill saw its second reading in Parliament on Monday.

In her debate on the bill, Yeoh said even the minimum wage introduced by the government is RM1,500.

“Foreign workers who prepare our drinks at coffee shops earn up to RM3,000, but the ‘presumed monthly income’ for a housewife is only RM600. This is insulting to the work they do 24/7.

“It puts everyone backwards. The government should explain more regarding the bill so that it is captured in the Hansard,” she said, adding that the bill is also disproportionate.

She said according to the bill, a RM30,000 maximum payout is allocated for permanent disability, but a hefty RM10,000 penalty is levied for failure to contribute under the scheme.

“On one hand, the government uses RM600 as an assumed amount affordable to the poor. But on the other hand, it imposes an RM10,000 penalty on those who do not contribute to the scheme.”

Yeoh said she wanted Parliament to postpone the passing of the bill because it is very insulting to women and their daily chores, although the spirit of this bill is to protect them.

She also questioned about the whereabouts of the current Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Harun and her deputy Datuk Seri Siti Zailah Yusoff.

“I’m surprised how this bill came through to Parliament without the comments of the minister or her deputy.

“They were not even in Parliament throughout the debate.”

In response to Yeoh’s request to postpone the bill, Human Resources Deputy Minister Datuk Awang Hashim said his ministry would revisit the terms as it reviews the bill from time to time.

Awang Hashim also said the ministry would consider an upward revision of the RM600 rate.

Under the bill, housewives who contribute to the scheme are entitled to medical benefits, permanent disability benefits, regular attendance allowance, survivor’s pension and funeral benefits.

The implementation of the bill, which contains 11 parts, 97 clauses and eight schedules, is an extension of the Social Security Organisation’s social safety net for community groups that are currently unprotected.

Yeoh agrees that the bill is needed to protect housewives but the RM600 monthly income stated is insulting to the women it is meant to protect.

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