KUALA LUMPUR, March 16 — The problem of malnutrition among approximately 5.6 million school children in the country will be addressed immediately, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said a memorandum would be forwarded to the Cabinet soon to coordinate efforts to address the issue as it involved cross-ministerial cooperation.

“We have discussed that the nutrition allocation for primary and lower secondary schools involves approximately RM800 million, in this matter, we also need to take into account the nutrition for children at nurseries or kindergartens,” he told a press conference after chairing the National Social Council meeting in Parliament here today.

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The meeting was attended by Cabinet ministers including Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.

Ahmad Zahid said that one of the approaches to address the issue was to coordinate balanced food intake according to advice from the nutrition department of the Ministry of Health (MoH).

“The physical formation of children depends on the nutrition given in accordance with the specified standards,” he said.

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Ahmad Zahid said the issue of malnutrition needs to be addressed to prevent associated effects such as stunting and obesity among next generation of Malaysians.

Also discussed at the meeting were the issue of nursery and care centre registration as well as the homeless.

He added that several approaches have been taken to coordinate the issue of registration, curriculum and syllabus as well as premises standards for daycare centres and nurseries.

This coordination involves local authorities (PBT) that are under the jurisdiction of the state governments and also nurseries or kindergartens where the curriculum and registration involve the Islamic Religious Councils or the State Islamic Religious Departments.

He also revealed that last year, a total of 1,081 nurseries were not registered out of a total of 4,142 nurseries while there were 573 unregistered childcare centres, out of 2,961 centres. — Bernama