Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Childcare body asks for subsidies to run centres

BINTULU: Sarawak Registered Childcare Association recently appealed to the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development to look into problems faced by childcare providers.

President Yii Siu Mink said that many countries showed their support for quality childcare services by giving subsidies and other incentives to their childcare industries.

“All operators have to comply with stringent guidelines and approach the Welfare Department, Land and Survey Department, Fire and Rescue Department, Health Department and local authorities to obtain a valid licence to operate,” she said at the closing of a 17-day course on basic childcare services at Bangunan Martabat.

“The Land and Survey Department recently imposed ‘enhanced premium’ for temporary use of land for providing childcare services.

“Under this, childcare providers have to use residential premises to run their business.

“The additional cost is from RM2,000 to RM8,000 depending on land size and current market value,” Yii said.

Therefore, she questioned the implementation of enhanced premium saying that there was no connection between land size and current market value of properties with the convenience of busy parents sending their children to quality childcare centres.

“These hefty fees do not guarantee that an applicant would get a valid licence as it also depends on getting supporting letters from the relevant departments,” she said.

“Due to space limitation, with 10 to 20 children, we can only charge parents RM200 to RM400 per month. We operate from 6.30am to 6.30pm on Mondays to Saturdays,” she said.

Taking into account the operational costs, they only earn about three per cent income out of which they need to pay for licensing fees, she said.

Senator Pau Chiong Ung who officiated at the closing ceremony said the matter would be brought to the attention of the government.

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