Yesterday Rosmah Mansor has once again said that people should not question PERMATA and those who questioned it are “politicizing” the issue.
I would like to remind her that seeking clarifications about a government agency funded by taxpayer monies is not “politicizing”, it is called public scrutiny and accountability. She seems to forget that the public fund used by PERMATA is from all the hardworking Malaysians who pay their hard-earned monies as taxes to Putrajaya. Hence Malaysians have every right to scrutinize how PERMATA programs are run. Perhaps “accountability” is a concept too foreign for her?
No one is questioning the need to develop early childhood education in Malaysia, but why do we need a separate agency under Prime Minister Department (PMD) and the wife of the Prime Minister as the patron? Why does the wife of the Prime Minister, who is not elected by the people, have such a big role in government?
As we have proposed many times, early childhood education development programs should be parked under the respective full ministries as they are better equipped and have more experiences in the relevant fields. For example, at the moment, childcare is under the purview of Women, Family and Community Development Ministry (WFCDM). According to the Childcare Act 1984, Social Welfare Department under the WFCDM is the regulator for all childcare centers in Malaysia. Since WFCDM is overseeing workplace childcare, community childcare and all other childcare centers, there is no reason that PERMATA Negara program not be parked under WFCDM but under a division in PMD. PERMATA other programs also overlap with the roles of Education Ministry as well as Rural and Regional Development Ministry. Therefore, if Rosmah Mansor really wishes for the best for the children of Malaysia, she should leave early childhood development to the ministries that have more expertise running it.
Rosmah Mansor has time and again made herself sound like a victim of public scrutiny over the management of a government agency and tax-payers monies. I would like to suggest her to resign as the patron of PERMATA if she can’t take the heat of scrunity and meet the request for accountability and transparency.
Media Statement by Yeo Bee Yin, ADUN for Damansara Utama on Wednesday 15 March 2017 in Petaling Jaya.