Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Chew: Many childcare centres being charged exorbitant fees

The Star News : Sunday July 26, 2009

PETALING JAYA: Many local councils and authorities are charging childcare centre operators exorbitant licence fees, sometimes as high as RM5,000 annually, said Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun.

Local authorities should be mindful of the importance of childcare centres and not view them as merely business entities, she added.

“Many of these local councils are not aware of the nature of this industry so they impose expensive licence fees,” she said at the SEGi College’s closing ceremony of its fourth Early Childhood Professionals appreciation day yesterday.

Chew, however, acknowledged that it was difficult for local councils to develop a set of uniform guidelines or regulations to govern childcare centres.

“There are different by-laws and regulations for different local authorities,” she said.

Chew also voiced out concerns on some providers who went ahead to operate childcare centres while waiting for approvals from the different authorities, which sometimes could take up to two years.

“When the various local councils have many applications to vet through, those from the childcare centres are usually not given priority,” she said.

Chew also told parents to only choose childcare centres registered with the Social Welfare Department (JKM).

She said there were 2,266 registered centres with the ministry and they were required to display their licences.

“The ministry has done our part to amend the law (2007). We have tightened the monitoring system for childcare providers.” she said.

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