KUALA LUMPUR: The total fertility rate (TFR) of Malaysians has seen a notable decline, says Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.

The Women, Family and Community Development Minister cited the Statistics Department’s Vital Statistics 2023 Report, which indicated Malaysia’s TFR dropped from 2.1 children per female in 2010 to 1.6 children per female in 2022.

“There are various factors contributing to this TFR decline, including economic factors and lifestyle choices that influence decisions regarding marriage age and family size,” she said.

“At the same time, infertility issues also play a role in the declining TFR rate,” she said during the winding-up debate on the Annual Report and Financial Statements of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) for 2021 and 2022 at the ministry level in the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday (July 2).

She pointed out that according to United Nations projections, several countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand, have also reported very low fertility rates that fall below the replacement level.

In response to these challenges, Nancy said the National Population and Family Development Board has implemented several initiatives, including providing affordable fertility treatment services, establishing clinics to address male fertility issues, and offering tax exemptions of up to RM8,000 for couples seeking fertility treatments.

“The board has also been assigned the responsibility of establishing a National Subfertility Centre equipped with comprehensive fertility treatment facilities under one roof, aimed at offering modern fertility services at affordable rates,” she added.

However, Nancy emphasised that the decision to have children and determine family size are the personal rights of each couple. – Bernama