Barisan considering child care for manifesto

Barisan Nasional is considering including Universal Child Care as part of its general election manifesto, said Johor Baru MP Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad.

Shahrir, who is also the Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) chairman, said he had raised the matter with Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak following a Unicef study which revealed that children living in low-cost housing, such as PPR flats, suffered higher levels of malnutrition.

“I said that you (Prime Minister) had succeeded in delivering 99.3% of pledges made in the last election.

“Why don’t we look at universal care for children for Barisan’s manifesto in the coming general and he said it will be considered,” he told a press conference in Parliament.

Shahrir said the Government would take measures to address issues raised in Unicef’s report.

“We are not denying the report or being defensive,” he said when asked to comment on the issue.

Earlier, Charles Santiago’s (DAP-Klang) motion to debate the issue in Dewan Rakyat was rejected.

Later at another press conference, Santiago urged the Government to set up a Child Poverty Commission to address the issue.

The study by the United Nations agency found that 99.7% of children living in low-cost flats in the capital city lived in relative poverty.

The study, which surveyed about 1,000 households with children below 18 years of age, raised alarms linking poverty to malnutrition, resulting in stunted growth in one out of three children.

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