Selangor will be the first state in Malaysia that will distribute free sanitary pads as an initiative to tackle period poverty. Period poverty is a lack of access to menstrual products, education, hygiene facilities, and waste management. According to Medical News Today, this issue affects 500 million people worldwide.
The assemblyman of Bukit Melawati, Juwairiya Zulkifli, said many people in Malaysia are having are going through this problem. However, due to the topic being considered taboo by many, people rarely discuss it.
She added that those who are at risk of period poverty are women who live in rural areas. Besides that, the poor and extremely poor are also included in the list. This issue affects some girls that are still in school. The lack of sanitary pads will limit their movement to further their education at school.
Many countries are aware of the issue. Thus, a country like South Korea started distributing free sanitary pads in 2018. Furthermore, Scotland also follows in the footstep to combat the issue since 2020.
The sum of RM200,000 was announced by Dato’ Seri Amirudin Shari in the 2023 Selangor Budget as a step to prevent the period poverty issue.
Juwairiya also hoped for the program to continue in the upcoming years with a bigger allocation.