Look for win-win solutions, parents, childcare centres told

Childcare centres and nurseries in Sarawak are allowed to reopen today. (Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Ministry Pic)

By Emma Victoria

CHILDCARE centres or nurseries (taska) and parents should to reach a consensus on whether to increase the monthly fees.

Sarawak Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said all parties need to compromise during this difficult time amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are aware that operators are struggling to survive after having been closed for nearly three months. Some have zero income in April and May as parents did not pay the fees. Yet, they still have to pay the rental of premises, utilities and salaries of their employees.

“Although they are allowed to reopen, they have to comply with the SOPs where they need to provide face masks, sanitizers, among others. Hence, there is increase in operational costs.

“We cannot have a standard or fixed price increase for the fee as each childcare centre provides and offers different services. For instance, some operate on weekends as well while others are equipped with air-conditioner.

“So, I would like to advise the operators and parents to discuss it and (hopefully) they can reach an amicable agreement to resolve this issue,” she said.

“We understand the difficult of the parents, who might be also facing financial constraints and at the same time we are empathize the operators,” she told the reporters after visiting a nursery at Jalan Stampin Tengah in Kuching today.

She also said some operators had also raised the issue of not receiving any aid from the government as they are not qualified or failed to fulfill the criteria.

Fatimah was asked to comment on the proposal by Association of Registered Childcare Providers Malaysia (PPBM) that childcare centre fees be increased to help them cope with the increased operating costs.

Its president Anisa Ahmad said childcare centres that impose monthly fees of RM600 and below have not been able to cover the operating costs especially during the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) and the Conditional MCO (CMCO).

To date, Sarawak has a total of 236 registered childcare centre and nurseries, with over 3,000 children.

Fatimah said some had decided to reopen on June 15.

Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah inspecting a nursery at Jalan Stampin Tengah on the first day of reopening.

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