SETIU: The Social Welfare Department has been directed to take legal action against care centres which are not registered with the department.
National Unity and Social Development Ministry parliamentary secretary Datuk S. Veerasingam said the department had identified 312 centres which had failed to comply with the ruling.
He said the centres were mainly orphanages, old folks homes and those catering to the handicapped and mentally impaired.
“We want all these bodies to register with the department so that there is proper control on their activities,” he said after a meeting with Social Welfare department directors at the Sutra Beach Resort here recently.
Under the Care Centres Act 1993, he said operators of centres which were not registered with the department could be fined up to RM10,000 or two years’ jail or both.
If the centres continued to operate after being found guilty, they could be fined up to RM1,000 per day, he added.
“We normally advise operators to comply with the law. However, we will haul them to court if they continue to be stubborn,” he said.
Veerasingam said only 240 care centres were registered with the department while another 72 were awaiting approval.
Although the Government was appreciative of the role played by non-governmental organisations in running the centres, he said the Government must ensure that there was accountability.
“We do not want unscrupulous people to take advantage of those who are less fortunate,” he said.
Veerasingam advised operators to seek help from the department if they were unsure of the procedures to get their centres registered.
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