KUALA LUMPUR: Having childcare centres at the workplace not only helps encourage more women to return to work but can also play a part in keeping children safe, says Hannah Yeoh.
The Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister said only 54% of women are in the workforce compared to about 80% of men.
“If we can get women to return to the workforce while offering them childcare solutions, Malaysia won’t have to rely on foreign workers.
“At the same time, our own population will be productive and may not have to rely on welfare,” she said, adding that RM1.7bil is spent on welfare aid for 400,000 recipients in the country.
Yeoh said the government has injected RM10mil for government agencies to roll out childcare facilities at the workplace, adding that there are about 500 government agencies without such facilities.
“With RM10mil, we can roll out 65 childcare facilities at government agencies. So we hope next year, we can have more,” she said.
She also appealed to private companies to not only set up childcare facilities at their premises but to also open them up to low-income earners in the B40 category.
“A person who earns a minimum wage of RM1,500 cannot afford to spend RM300 to send their child to a registered childcare or taska.
“So, many parents decide to give up working to look after their kids at home,” she said.
The other alternative is to pay a neighbourhood babysitter who is likely not registered.
“Because there is a market for it, parents don’t report them and abuses tend to happen,” Yeoh added.
She said the private sector also has a role to play to ensure that organisations do not exploit children in their fundraising efforts.
“With all the money spent on your CSR efforts, there is a need for the ministry to work with you to start monitoring organisations that receive your funds,” she said.
Yeoh was speaking at the CSR Malaysia Awards 2019, where 50 Malaysian companies and government-linked companies were honoured for their corporate social responsibility efforts.
She also presented social activist and chairman of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, with the CSR Malaysia Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding community work.