KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 — Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh today alleged that the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government had channelled funds allocated for the opening of nurseries in government agencies to its National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana).
In a statement today, the former women, family and community development deputy minister said that this was established from an audit conducted in July 2018, whereby the ministry found that 541 government agencies, including state government agencies did not have nurseries or Taman Asuhan Kanak-kanak (Taska) at its premises.
“Through the 2019 Budget, the Pakatan Harapan government had allocated RM10 million to establish 50 nurseries at workplaces in government agencies and successfully established 65 nurseries nationwide. Meanwhile, in Budget 2020, the Ministry of Finance at that time, allocated RM30 million, which is a three-fold increase compared to 2019.
“However, only RM5.5 million was spent on the establishment of 34 nurseries in workplaces. The increase of RM30 million should be able to provide at least 200 nurseries in workplaces in government agencies. Yet, the remaining RM24.5 million has been channelled to other purposes, namely Penjana, including the special assistance for private nurseries,” she said.
Yeoh lamented that the actual reality on the ground is that there are still many frontliners who do not have childcare support.
She said some are forced to take leave or send their children to a private babysitter or nursery, adding that this involves higher costs due to an unpredictable work shift.
She added that the issue of providing nurseries in workplaces for the frontliners is critical to ensuring that Malaysia can fight Covid-19 effectively.
“If the welfare of the frontliners’ families is not taken care of, their performance in the field will inevitably be affected.
“Therefore, I urge the minister of women, family and community development to return the RM30 million allocated in Budget 2020 to its original purpose, which is to establish more nurseries at workplaces, for the frontliners, especially in hospitals, police stations and government agencies operating in shifts. The 2021 Budget must make this a priority,” she added.
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