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Friday, April 30, 2021

Don’t stop financial aid for children’s centres, ministry told

 

Yayasan Chow Kit runs the welfare department’s children centre in Kuala Lumpur and depends on government funds for much of its expenses. (Yayasan Chow Kit pic)

PETALING JAYA: A foundation for underprivileged children has spoken up against the government’s decision to withhold financial assistance for centres under the social welfare department’s (JKM) purview.

Operating in partnership with the ministry, Yayasan Chow Kit runs one of the JKM children’s centres, known as Pusat Aktiviti Kanak-Kanak (PAKK). There are 131 PAKKs nationwide. Of that number, six are in Kuala Lumpur.

“Yayasan Chow Kit runs one of the centres in Kuala Lumpur, and we operate it with our fund raising initiatives. However, due to our partnership with JKM, we receive financial assistance from them to pay for the electric bill and allowance of two staff,” child activist Ananti Rajasingam, who runs the foundation, told FMT.

However, Ananti explained that the allowance and financial assistance for the centre have been put on hold from May until further notice.

“They (JKM) informed us yesterday that the department was in the middle of selecting new council members. Therefore, all fundings have been suspended temporarily until the selection is completed.”

She said the selection process would happen every five or eight years but added: ”during the last selection, there was no financial issue.”

She said the JKM would not be able to cover April’s expenses as all outgoing funding and cheques have been suspended.

Further, she said JKM had instructed the foundation to cover the expenses for utilities and staff for the time being and would only reimburse them later.

“We do not have a budget for this as it was not planned, and we were not informed earlier. They should have given us at least a month’s notice to find other sources of funding.

“This is unfair for us. We depend entirely on the government and private funding for our expenses.”

Asked if any other centres were affected, she said all PAKKs in Kuala Lumpur faced a similar fate.

“We depend highly on corporate, government or individual fundings. But all funds are directed for other items such as rent, food programme, developmental programmes, staff salaries, among others.

FMT has reached out to the JKM and the women, family and community development ministry for comment on the matter. - FMT

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