PETALING JAYA: Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh has urged Putrajaya to reinstate a RM30 million allocation under Budget 2021 to build childcare centres for frontliners at government agencies, especially hospitals and police stations.
She said the previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) government had allocated RM30 million to the women, family and community development ministry under Budget 2020 to set up such centres at government agencies nationwide.
However, she said the plans were derailed following the Sheraton move in March, which saw the collapse of the PH administration, and lockdown restrictions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Yeoh said the current ministry under Rina Harun had only spent RM5.5 million to build 34 childcare centres, as the remaining funds had been channelled into the National Economic Recovery Plan as one-off grants for both public and private agencies.
“The government only approved 34 childcare centres for the workplace. With RM30 million, by right we should have 200 childcare centres in government agencies.
“Covid-19 is not going to go away soon. They need to reinstate this budget so frontliners have somewhere to send their kids. If we don’t look after the children of frontliners, they won’t be able to care for the people,” she said at an online press conference today.
Yeoh also called for the government to look into expanding existing childcare centres in government agencies, as certain centres with limited capacity were only able to take in one child per civil servant.
She said the current situation at the centres was impractical because workers with more than one child would have to send their children to private centres, which would cost more and would only be able to care for them until 5pm.
More childcare centres, she said, should be established for frontliners in hospitals and police stations so that they could effectively work night shifts without worrying about their families.