BN May Include Universal Child Care As Part Of Its 14th General Election Manifesto

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KUALA LUMPUR — Barisan Nasional (BN) may include universal child care as part of its manifesto in the upcoming general election to improve the living condition of those who had fallen through the cracks, as reported in a recent United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) study.

BN Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad noted that while the findings were disturbing, Malaysians at large had to acknowledge it and move forward with plans to improve the situation.

“We are not being defensive and I think it is an excellent study because it just shows people about those who have fallen through the cracks, and we have to improve our delivery, that’s important,” he told a press conference at the Parliament building here, today.

Unicef in their 76-page report issued on Feb 26 among others, claimed that children living in People’s Housing Project (PPR) areas in the country had been mostly identified to suffer from malnutrition and retardation.

Shahrir, who is also Johor Bahru Member of Parliament, said he had made the proposal to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is BN Chairman, when they met earlier today.

"I met PM today and suggested that we should include universal child care as part of the manifesto," he said.

He however noted that the government had already executed a very noble idea of approaching the rakyat’s issue, particularly in terms of income, by classifying them into groups and having specific programmes accordingly.

“I think there are already very good programmes, no other countries have similar approach and of course we would like to refine it. In fact, for us, for my friends and I, we would like to overcome this issue (raised by Unicef), and incorporate it in BN’s manifesto,” he said.

Shahrir added that BN would also take the opportunity to raise the issue while debating the royal address by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V.