Incorporate childcare centres in housing projects — Rohani

Rohani (centre) and Shamsuddin (second left) discussing something with one of the operators of a childcare centre.

KUCHING: Housing estate developers in the country may soon have to incorporate childcare centres into their housing projects.

According to Women Development, Family and Community Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim, the matter has been listed under her ministry’s key performance index and is still in the planning stage.

“A property developer normally allocates a piece of land for future use and will normally end up as field or playground. However, to construct a childcare centre at a later stage will create problems to parents living in the area,” said Rohani

She was speaking in a press conference after conducting spot checks to several childcare centres around Petra Jaya here yesterday.

“I have discussed the matter with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) on this matter and we hope it will materialize soon,” she said.

She added that with the government target for 55 per cent of the women in the country to be working by 2016, childcare centres are now in demand.

“In fact, we see the fact that a childcare centre is now more of a social responsibility to the community as demand is now bigger than supply. This leads to the mushrooming of more unregistered childcare centres not complying with any safety features,” she added.

Rohani added that a good example of a daycare centre is located in Presint 16, Putrajaya, where the area is equipped with a community hall, gym, swimming pool, library, a cafe and soon a transit centre where students can spend their time before working parents fetch them after work.

On a related matter, Rohani urged childcare centre operators to register themselves with the Welfare Department to ensure that parents will have more confidence to send their children to a centre.

“In fact, the government is giving away incentive fees to parents who send their children to registered childcare centres and this is why we need operators to ensure that their centre will comply with all state regulations before being registered under the Welfare Department.

“As for now, there are only 110 registered childcare centres in Sarawak while another 68 are still in registration process,” she revealed.

On yesterday’s spot-check, Rohani explained that it must be done frequently and to ensure that operators were complying with all the rulings.

“The spot-checks will ensure that the department can point out any weaknesses or setbacks to be rectified,” she said.

On another matter, Rohani said the case involving the death of a four-month infant in West Malaysia recently, is still under police investigation.

“The body has been sent for a post mortem to identify the cause. However, the caretaker does not operate a childcare centre. The Welfare Department thus advises children caretakers to undergo training with the department such as basic childcare course and CPR course,” she pointed out.

Also present during the spot-check was Welfare Department director Shamsuddin Seruji.

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