S’wak only state to provide free meals in pre-schools

Posted on : 01 Sep 2019  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Abang Johari (middle row, fourth left), flanked by Uggah and Fatimah, joins other dignitaries in a group photo with the EFS recipients. On the same row as Abang Johari are (from left) Len Talif, Asfia, former deputy chief minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, Dr Rundi, Jaul, Harden and Pakan assemblyman Tan Sri William Mawan. Seen on the back row, from left, are Meluan assemblyman Rolland Duat Jubin, Abdullah, Yusuf and Meradong assemblyman Datuk Ding Kuong Hiing.

SARIKEI: Sarawak is the only state in Malaysia that provides free meals for children in kindergartens and nurseries registered under the Welfare Department.

According to Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah, the Sarawak government has allocated RM16 million to implement this programme, starting this year.

Adding on, she pointed out that the funds are disbursed as special annual grants (GTK) to all kindergartens and nurseries registered with the Welfare Department.

It is reported that as at Aug 27 this year, 2,771  or 91.3 per cent of 3,035 kindergartens and nurseries had applied to be registered with the department.

Based on the latest statistics, there are 2,390 children in nurseries and 79,751 in kindergartens throughout Sarawak.

“The payments of GTK to 1,531 early applicants involving a total sum of RM7,665,000, are being processed.

“Apart from providing the free meals meant to aid physical development and growth of the children, the programme is also a fun learning and interactive activity that involves the purchasing of learning materials.

“It encourages the involvement of parents in the children’s education, and provides teachers with professional development,” she said prior to the presentation of welfare assistance and incentives to local recipients who were taking part in the state-level National Day 2019 celebration here yesterday.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg presented the welfare assistance, as well as Endowment Fund Sarawak (EFS) and GTK to the recipients.

Touching on EFS, Fatimah said beginning this year, every Sarawakian newborn baby would be entitled to the RM1,000 incentive, to be deposited in Bank Islam and could be redeemed upon the recipient reaching the age of 18.

As at July this year, a total of 20,970 newborn babies were recorded in Sarawak – from this figure, 19,429 have the ‘K’ status (Sarawakian) and are entitled to the EFS incentive.

“To date, there are 13,270 recipients of the EFS incentive,” said Fatimah.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas; Tanjong Manis MP Yusuf Abdul Wahab; Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar; State Secretary Datu Jaul Samion; Minister of Utilities Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom; Assistant Minister of Urban Development and Resources Datu Len Talif Salleh; Assistant Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Francis Harden Hollis; and Assistant Minister in Chief Minister’s Department (Corporate Affairs and Sarawak Public Communications Unit) Abdullah Saidol were among the dignitaries present.