PETALING JAYA: The childcare subsidy in the Pelan Jana Semula Ekonomi Negara (Penjana) will help support working parents and nurseries in adapting to the new normal.
Association of Registered Childcare Providers Malaysia president Anisa Ahmad said the one-off grant of up to RM5,000 per registered childcare centre (taska) would help them carry out important new healthcare standard operating procedure (SOP).
“The grant will help a taska carry out daily sanitisation and cleaning activities, making parents more comfortable in sending their children to nurseries due to the enhanced safety procedure.
“Many parents were asking for taska to open up but when we reopened recently, not many children were sent there.
“Parents are still wary of Covid-19 but it’s also expensive for us to operate and pay rental and staff salaries if we are unable to collect enough monthly fees.
“So we hope that the new initiatives will restore their confidence and encourage parents to send their children to nurseries again, ” said Anisa yesterday.
The fact that early childhood education was given a mention by the Prime Minister in his short-term economic revival package and included in Penjana was “very refreshing”, she added.
The government is providing incentives to train new practitioners for childcare and early education courses under the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry.
“We understand that it is an incentive of RM900 for the Permata programme and we’re happy that early childhood education was given a focus, ” Anisa said.
On the RM800 e-vouchers per household for mobile childcare services, Anisa said: “As far as I know, online childcare services are not licensed or certified by the Welfare Department. More clarity is needed on this.”
About 8,000 childcare centres, 5,000 households and an estimated 10,000 new early education practitioners will benefit from the government’s childcare subsidy programme.
Parents like Sheikh Rahim, 30, welcomed the increase in income tax relief for parents on childcare services expenses from RM2,000 to RM3,000 for the year assessment of 2020 and 2021.
“It’s a relief especially since we are halfway through the year and taska usually ends by November, ” said the executive at a travel company.
Asked if he would be confident enough to send his three-year-old child back to taska soon, Sheikh said this would depend on the compliance of the operator.
Nurhidayah Rahman, 27, who is eight months pregnant and looking to continue working after her maternity leave, gave the thumbs up to the increase in income tax relief.
“Monthly expenses for taska in Kuala Lumpur range between RM1,000 for basic and RM1,800 for more upscale care.
“So any offset is welcomed as it puts more money into the pocket of parents but the government will also have to play its role by having stringent approval for nurseries, ” she said.