PETALING JAYA: If Rosmah Mansor really wants the best for the children of Malaysia, she should leave early childhood development to the ministries that have more expertise running it, says a Selangor DAP assemblywoman.
While supporting programmes to develop early childhood education, Yeo said the only question was on the need for a separate agency and how it was organised and led.
Yeo was referring to Rosmah, who is Prime Minister Najib Razak’s wife and the patron of Permata Negara, a child education and welfare organisation under the PM’s department.
“Why do we need a separate agency under the Prime Minister’s Department (PMD) and with the prime minister’s wife, who is not elected by the people, to have such a big role in government?
“Early childhood education development programmes should be parked under the respective full ministries as they are better equipped and have more experience in the relevant fields,” Yeo said, giving the example of childcare being under the purview of the women, family and community development ministry.
Yeo, who is also DAP social media strategist, said according to the Childcare Act 1984, the social welfare department under the women, family and community development ministry is the regulator for all childcare centres in Malaysia.
“If the ministry is overseeing workplace childcare, community childcare and all other childcare centres, there is no reason for Permata to be a division in the PM’s department,” Yeo said, adding that Permata’s other programmes overlap with the roles of the education ministry as well as the rural and regional development ministry.
Referring to comments made by the prime minister’s wife yesterday, Yeo said the patron of Permata needs to recognise that the organisation is fully-funded by taxpayers and is therefore subject to public scrutiny.
“Rosmah Mansor should resign as the patron of Permata programmes if she does not understand the meaning of accountability of public funds,” the Damansara Utama assemblywoman said in reference to Rosmah questioning those who had “politicised” the issue of Permata’s huge allocations from Putrajaya.
Yesterday, Rosmah spoke of the difficulty in obtaining funds from the government in the first place.
She also said the Permata programme was established to help the people of Malaysia and that it had nothing to do with her.
“I didn’t take money (from Permata) or use it. It’s not in my wallet. You can check. (You think) it’s easy to get money from the government?
“It’s easy for the government to take our money, but when we ask for money, it’s so difficult. I didn’t take the money and put it in my wallet,” Rosmah had said.
Yeo, who is Damansara Utama assemblywoman, said there was no issue of “politicising” the issue of Permata’s allocation but rather the accountability on the use of such funds.
“She seems to forget that the funds used by Permata are from all hardworking Malaysians who pay their hard-earned monies as taxes to Putrajaya. Hence, Malaysians have every right to scrutinise how Permata programmes are run.”