Fatimah calls for more childcare centres to be set up at workplaces

Fatimah (second left) carrying out the launch gimmick as Assistant Minister of Community Well-being Datuk Francis Harden Hollis (left) and Sharbini (second right) cheer her on.

By Nigel Edgar

KUCHING, March 15: Workplaces, especially those with big employee numbers, are encouraged to set up in-house childcare centres.

This will not only benefit those employees who are parents with young children but also benefit the organisation or company in terms of productivity.

As the parents can have peace of mind knowing that their children are nearby, they could focus on work and be more productive, said Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah, the Minister of Welfare, Community Well-being, Women, Family and Childhood Development.

“Employers need to see childcare centres at workplaces as a very critical support system. This will not only benefit women but also society as when women have a fair and equal chance to enter the workforce and progress, society becomes richer.

“Women can have peace of mind, and they can remain focused at work,” she said when opening Sarawak Energy Berhad’s (Sarawak Energy)’s Little Power Genius Childcare Centre (LPG) this morning.

This is the company’s first in-house childcare centre, which started late last year at Sarawak Energy’s headquarters here.

Sharbini presenting a memento to Fatimah as Assistant Minister of Community Well-being Datuk Francis Harden Hollis and Tanjung Datu assemblywoman Datuk Amar Jamilah Anu look on.

Sarawak Energy Group chief executive officer Datu Sharbini Suhaili revealed that LPG was operated by national childcare provider Si Comel Cerdik and could accommodate 40 children aged between three months and four years.

Currently, there are 31 children aged between eight months and four years at the centre. The centre also provides transit services for children aged up to 12 years old.

“We believe that good people are our greatest asset and the core of operational excellence and business growth and that we should take care of them as much as we can,” said Sharbini in his opening address.

He said a significant portion of Sarawak Energy’s workforce were young adults at the age where they are establishing families.

As primary care providers for their families, women are more likely to leave their jobs to look after their families, resulting in a loss of talent and potential.

The childcare centre, said Sharbini, represents one of several initiatives to provide staff with the right kind of support system so that they could continue to work if they chose to.

“It will greatly assist our young parents, especially mothers, to meet their personal needs, keep track of their children and work with better focus, including achieving their career development goals.

“I am confident that this initiative will contribute to better talent retention in Sarawak Energy while attracting more young talents to join us,” he said. — DayakDaily