KUCHING: Sarawak plans to set up a one-stop centre for children with special needs this year in collaboration with Petronas.
State Welfare, Community Development, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said her ministry was preparing a proposal to be presented to Petronas by the end of next month.
"This is a corporate social responsibility project by Petronas with the state government.
"We've done a study on the concept of the centre by looking at the needs in Sarawak and we want to propose a one-stop centre for rehabilitation and intervention for two types of disabilities," she told reporters after chairing a Sarawak Early Childhood Development Council meeting here on Tuesday (March 19).
Fatimah said one of the disabilities to be addressed by the proposed centre was likely to be autism, based on World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics which showed a high prevalence rate around the world.
She said her ministry would also look at several potential sites for the centre, which will be located here.
"We want to provide holistic, intensive, specialised rehabilitation services for children with special needs, including diagnosis.
"Once we have presented the proposal to Petronas, the target is for the centre to start providing services this year," she said, adding that the national oil corporation was allocating RM4mil for the project.
Fatimah also said her ministry was studying a proposal to set up a primary school for special needs children.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had proposed the school idea on March 3 to give special children the right education.
"We are looking at best practices in other countries and how to implement inclusive education. We want this to be a model school for special children," Fatimah said, adding that her ministry was given three months to do the study.