Don’t politicise vaccination of preschool staff, Fatimah tells Pending rep

Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah (file photo)

By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, Aug 30: Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah has urged the opposition to not politicise the vaccination of preschool staff.

She was responding to Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong’s recent statement where she accused the government of putting up a publicity stunt with regards to the vaccination status of preschool staff, giving false confidence to parents that it is safe when only the teachers, caregivers and staff of the preschools and childcare centres have been vaccinated.


“I have never claimed that ‘it is safe when the teachers, caregivers and staff of the preschools and childcare centers have been vaccinated’.

“My statement was ‘Besides our initiative and commitment to ensure our teachers, assistant teachers and caregivers are vaccinated, we would like to also appeal to parents and families with young children to go for vaccination. It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure the safety of our children.’

“Currently, the National Vaccine Policy is for individuals 18 years and above. Thus, Taska (nurseries) and Tadika (kindergartens) children are not eligible for vaccination,” she said in a statement today.

Fatimah also highlighted the statistics on near-full vaccination of preschool staff was not plucked out of thin air but the actual number which was provided by the Taska and Tadika operators themselves.

To her, the statistics reflected the deep sense of commitment and responsibility among operators and teachers of Taska and Tadika in all divisions and districts throughout Sarawak.

Fatimah also said the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the reopening of Tadika and Taska in Sarawak are very stringent, involving not only teachers, assistant teachers and caregivers but are also meant for parents to follow before and after class.

“The SOPs do not only involve physical distancing but types of activities that can be carried out, wearing of masks, sanitisation of the premises, teaching and learning kits as well as items belonging to the children,” she added.

Fatimah who is also the Dalat assemblywoman pointed out that parents are given the choice whether to send their children to these centres.

“The opening of Taska and Tadika is to give support services for working parents especially for frontliners, and also for those who have to work from home.

“For instance, teachers conducting online classes will be having problems carrying out the task if they have to look after their small kids at the same time. If they opt to send their children to other family members or neighbours, there is no assurance and monitoring of SOP compliance,” she emphasised.

She also revealed that as of today, 2,954 early childhood education institutions (IPAKKs) or 95 per cent have applied for the Special Annual Grant (GTK). Of these, 2,310 IPAKKs or 78 per cent had received the grants respectively.

“The remaining 12 per cent or 644 IPAKKs are still in the process of receiving payments due to submission of incomplete documents,” she said. — DayakDaily