With the rise in social issues such as drug abuse, theft/robbery, child abandonment, domestic violence and the likes, Legislative Council (LegCo) member Yang Berhormat Khairunnisa binti Haji Ash’ari pointed out the need to have qualified officers and social workers, based on international best practices.
Responding at the 17th LegCo session yesterday, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Yang Berhormat Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin said that three officer or social worker positions were passed during the financial year 2020-2021, while another seven positions will be passed for the financial year 2021-2022, totalling 10 open positions for Division II officers or social workers.
He said the Community Development Department (JAPEM) has 24 staff in Divisions II and III as part of the workforce handling the social field, and 38 staff in Division IV whose duties include handling issues on women, family, children, senior citizens, persons with different abilities (OKU), and people with financial difficulty.
Annually, the social workers handle over 5,000 cases, where one social worker takes on 300 cases each.
“The increase in 10 officers or social worker positions will enhance the quality and efficiency of service delivery,” the minister said.
“The duties of social workers in the department were not originally of social work, so the staff did not have previous background experience or qualification.
“However, they have undergone capacity building training and exposure through various platforms in the country and abroad regarding social work, such as from the Social Service Institute, Ministry of Social Development and Family, Singapore; ASEAN Social Work Consortium; and the ASEAN Training Centre for Social Work.”
He said those in Division IV are support staff who have been given ongoing training and have specific experience through the approach and preparation of social reports, while in National Social Work Competency standards, MCYS has also prepared the Social Work Officer Service Scheme under JAPEM in 2020.