S'wak govt welcomes move to amend Childcare Act, register all babysitters

KUCHING: Sarawak welcomed the proposal to amend the Childcare Act 1984, to ensure all childcare centres, including home-based operators will be registered with the Social Welfare Department. Currently, only childcare centres with more than four children are required to do so.

The state’s Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said this registration will ensure all childcare operators comply with the rules and regulations, including hiring qualified and trained teachers and staff. “It is a good move as we can keep track on the operators and children under their care. It allows us to better monitor and develop our early childcare,” she said. However, there would be several challenges as well, in particular, the monitoring and enforcement process. “Our concern would be how to monitor and reach all the operators? Thus, we will need to study this aspect further, especially in Sarawak,” she said after handling over aid to 10 families affected by a fire at her office at Baitulmakmur Building here on Thursday. “If there’s no monitoring and enforcement, the amendment will not serve its purpose. Manpower would be another issue,” she added. Fatimah was commenting the proposal by the Deputy Women, Community and Family Development Minister Hannah Yeoh in an exclusive interview with Sin Chew Daily. Yeoh said the ministry would conduct studies to amend the act including the registration requirements for home-based babysitters, even if the operator only takes care of one child. Earlier, Fatimah said the state government has spent RM1.5 million on drinking water and water supply to assist 9,920 families affected by the dry season from January to August this year. “We spent about RM329,000 on transportation cost with Betong as the worst-affected areas, followed by Mukah, Serian and Samarahan,” she said.

The minister also handed over aid worth RM55,000 to another 10 families affected by fire.

They received food items, financial aid, and school uniforms, among others. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd