LAST year, RM163.85 million was channelled to 73,255 single mothers, the Dewan Rakyat was told yesterday.
Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Heng Seai Kie said single mothers in Sarawak received the highest amount at RM27.08 million.
"The ministry provides various types of assistance to single mothers through the Welfare Department, such as monetary aid for school-going children, aid to start small businesses and also monthly aid for poor families," she said in response to Sim Tong Him (DAP-Kota Melaka).
Heng said the department provided RM100 to RM450 to meet schooling expenses, while those interested in starting a business could apply for start-up capital of up to RM2,700.
"Last year, 142 single mothers took the opportunity to start businesses, with Terengganu recording the highest number, with 67 single mothers applying for the aid."
Heng said the ministry encouraged single mothers not to depend on the monthly aid provided by the department but to work towards becoming independent breadwinners.
To a supplementary question, Heng said the ministry provided aid to single mothers' associations based on their programmes.
On another matter, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong said the target of involving at least 30 per cent of women in decision-making and high management posts had been met.
Of the 1,604 civil servants holding top positions, 521 were women or 32.48 per cent of the total, he said in reply to Chong Eng (DAP-Bukit Mertajam).
Chong had sought the gender breakdown in top management posts in the public service.