KUCHING: More private sector organisations should set up childcare centres in the workplace so that women can continue to work.
Deputy Women, Family and Community Minister Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said only 32 companies had opened childcare centres in their premises as of last month, compared to 132 in the government sector.
Of the private sector centres, 11 are in Selangor, eight in Kuala Lumpur, five in Terengganu, three in Pahang, two in Johor and one each in Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Kelantan.
“So far there are none in Sarawak and the remaining states. The number is not enough,” she told reporters during a dialogue session on early childhood care and education with the Association of Registered Childcare Providers Malaysia here on Friday.
Chew said a taskforce on early childhood care and education, which she chairs, had held several meetings to discuss setting up childcare centres in multi-storey buildings to encourage such facilities in the workplace.
In addition, she said the Government provided tax incentives to companies which opened childcare centres at their workplace.
Chew said childcare centres would encourage mothers to return to work and remain in the workforce.
She said this was in line with the Government’s target to increase women’s participation in the workforce, from 54% this year to 59% in 2020.
“The ministry, through the Welfare Department, will take steps to ensure that childcare centres in the country provide excellent and safe care for children,” she said.
She also called on childcare centres in Sarawak to register with the Welfare Department. At present there are only 136 registered centres in the state.
“We are serious in our efforts to ensure that every centre is registered with the department to ensure the quality of care and children’s safety.
“Registration is important to prevent untoward incidents from happening. If the centres are not registered, it’s difficult for the department to monitor them,” she said.