TFR decline for all ethics groups, says Nancy 

The total fertility rate (TFR) for all major ethnic groups in Malaysia has shown a declining trend, said Women, Family and Community Development (KPWKM) Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.

“Between 2010 and 2022, the TFR decreased from 2.6 children to 2.0 children among the Bumiputera, from 1.5 children to 0.8 children among the Chinese, and from 1.7 children to 1.1 children among the Indians. It should be noted that the TFR for the Chinese and Indian ethnicities started to fall below replacement levels as early as 2003 and 2005, respectively,” she said.

“There are various factors contributing to the decline in TFR. These include economic factors and lifestyle choices that can influence decisions on marriage age, number of children, and so forth. At the same time, infertility issues can also affect the TFR rate,” she said.

“In terms of client breakdown by ethnicity receiving fertility treatment services at LPPKN’s Subfertility Clinic, the Chinese community ranks third after the Malay and Indian communities,” she added. 

However, Nancy said that there has been a doubling in the number of Chinese clients over a 3-year period. 

“For comparison, the number of Chinese clients receiving treatment was 404 individuals in 2020, which increased to 836 individuals in 2023,” Nancy said in a parliamentary written reply.

Nancy was responding to Sim Tze Tzin’s (PH-Bayan Baru) queries regarding the birth rates among different ethnic groups in Malaysia.

He also sought insights into the government’s strategy to address the notable decline in birth rates, especially within the Chinese community.

Nancy said to address the issue of infertility, KPWKM, through its agency, the National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN), has implemented various initiatives, including:

(i) Providing affordable fertility treatment services since 1979. All married couples are eligible for treatment, and as of 2023, over 6,000 successful pregnancies have been recorded.

(ii) Establishing men’s health clinics that offer health screenings, sexual problem counselling, lifestyle advice, and medication to enhance male fertility, addressing the increasing male infertility issues.

(iii) Conducting advocacy and promotional activities to raise awareness among the public, especially couples facing fertility problems, encouraging them to seek advice and fertility treatment as early as possible without hesitation.
(iv) Initiating tax exemptions up to RM8,000 for fertility treatments for couples.

(v) Allowing withdrawal from Account 2 of the Employees Provident Fund (KWSP) for fertility treatment purposes starting from September 1, 2020.

Nancy said currently, KPWKM through LPPKN has been mandated to establish the National Subfertility Centre equipped with comprehensive fertility treatment facilities under one roof to provide modern and affordable fertility services. 

“This National Subfertility Centre will be developed in Shah Alam, Selangor, and will serve as the premier fertility service referral centre in Malaysia,” she added.