Putrajaya: Childcare in all govt offices by 2019, private firms urged to follow suit

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister, Hannah Yeoh, speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya July 5, 2018. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister, Hannah Yeoh, speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya July 5, 2018. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

PUTRAJAYA, July 5 — By 2019, all government agencies will be equipped with day care centres for children while the private sector should join in to reach this target, newly-appointed Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh said today.

The Segambut MP, during her first official press conference at the ministry here, said currently there are only 205 offices in the government sector and 52 in the private sector equipped with childcare centres, and it is time for serious action to be taken.

“The time to talk is over and we have to do something. All government agencies must have childcare centres by January 1.

“We will start auditing all the offices immediately. We have to start with the government sector first to set an example, so that the private sector will follow suit,” she said after her meet with the head of the Welfare Department here.

Yeoh, who assumed her role on Monday, made the announcement following the death of five-month-old Adam Rayqal Mohd Sufi who was found stuffed inside the freezer compartment of a refrigerator at his caretaker’s home in Batu Caves on Tuesday.

When asked how her ministry plans to tackle the private sector, since cost will be a factor, she said an incentive will be given through tax exemptions.

“I think it starts with awareness, that needs to reach the private sector first. Those in the private sector will also need to know that they will be eligible for an incentive of 10 per cent for 10 years, that covers renovation, maintenance and owning a day care centre,” she said.

Yeoh also said there is an urgent need to improve the current Child Act 2001 and Child Care Centre Act 1984, including setting up a commission for children and an independent body to oversee private care centres or individual babysitters.

The ministry will also propose to improve the Child Act by strengthening the Child Registry to ensure it covers all sexual offences, mental health and any related court or police records.

The system will ensure anyone who is tasked with engaging with children such as caretakers, teachers, school guards, school bus drivers and tuition teachers are registered, and this will reduce the risk of the children’s security and safety from being compromised.

On Tuesday, police revealed that Adam died due to severe head injuries from blunt force trauma, but have yet to find the murder weapon and the motive is still being investigated.

A caretaker and a housemate have been remanded for seven days to facilitate the investigation. The caretaker had only been looking after the victim for a week.

The victim’s parents lodged a police report after the caretaker told them that someone resembling the victim’s father Mohd Sufi Naeif Mohd Fauzi, 28, had abducted Adam from the day care centre.

Police detained both suspects after finding discrepancies in their statements during questioning and later found the body.

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