KUCHING: Private childcare centres and kindergartens in Sarawak, except those in Kuching district, will be allowed to continue operating with immediate effect, says Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah.
The state Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister said this decision was made by the state disaster management committee after considering requests from working parents.
"Since the business and services sectors are still operating, we realise that closing childcare centres and kindergartens makes it difficult for parents to arrange childcare, especially if both parents are working as frontliners or in essential services.
"At present, since only Kuching district is a Covid-19 red zone, we have decided that childcare centres and kindergartens in other districts can continue to operate," she told a press conference at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly complex here on Wednesday (Nov 11).
Fatimah said early intervention centres for special needs children in areas outside Kuching would also be allowed to operate.
She said the institutions must comply strictly with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the authorities.
For childcare centres and kindergartens in Kuching, which are currently closed during a conditional movement control order (MCO) from Nov 9 to 22, Fatimah said they could apply to her ministry for permission to reopen based on the requests or needs of parents.
"The operators can submit the applications to us with details of the parents' requests, for example whether the parents are working as frontliners and have no alternative for childcare.
"We will bring up the applications to the state disaster management committee to be considered on a case-by-case basis," she said.
As for kindergartens registered under the Education Ministry, Fatimah said her ministry would bring up the matter of their reopening with the National Security Council.
The Education Ministry had announced on Nov 8 that all schools under its jurisdiction would be closed from Nov 9 until the end of the school year on Dec 17.