61 unregistered childcare centres in Sarawak


KUCHING: Sarawak Social Welfare Department has found 61 unregistered childcare centres or nurseries (taska) since the beginning of the year.

According to the department’s statistics, a total of 47 centres had been issued with warning notices while 13 ceased operations as of June 13.

Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said one nursery in Sibu had been certified for registration and allowed to continue to operate.

Out of the 13 centres that had closed down, she said, nine were in Kuching, one in Samarahan, one in Sibu and two in Miri.

The department, she said, had issued warning notices to seven childcare operators in Kuching, one in Samarahan, three in Sarikei, one in Mukah, as well as Bintulu (10), Miri (23) and Limbang (1) – that remained unregistered.

Fatimah said all the centres to comply with the safety requirements of the Fire and Rescue Department, Health Department, Social Welfare Department as well as the local council.

She added that there would be periodic inspections by the various government departments and agencies as well as spot checks or unannounced visits to these centres.

It was recently reported that there were 1,028 privately-run childcare centres in Malaysia that remained unregistered after being given warnings.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Harun said these centres were managed by the private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Of the total 1,028 centres in the country, 38 have since been certified for registration, 57 ceased operations, eight were sealed, 35 were given compound notices and one was charged.

Rina also said the ministry was ready to present to the Cabinet a proposal on the setting up of a Cabinet Committee for Protecting Vulnerable Groups.

She said the committee, to be chaired by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, would look into issues related to care centres, including childcare centres, orphans, persons with disabilities, the elderly and tahfiz centres.

In April, Tunku Mahkota of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim has called for legislative amendments such as to the Child Act 2001, immediate audit into children’s shelters nationwide as well as a thorough study to be conducted on the state of childcare centres nationwide.

He said this in sending a strong message to the government, local authorities, and the public at large that children’s welfare, especially those living in shelter homes should always be protected and well taken care of.

He had suggested the important steps to be carried out to prevent the recurrence of abuse cases, like the one involving Bella, the 13-year-old Down Syndrome teenager currently at the centre of a court case involving the founder of a welfare home, Siti Bainun Ahd Razali.

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