Sarawak Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said of the total, 160 were in Kuching district, which is a red zone.
“There are 1,770 children in the 160 childcare centres and kindergartens in the red zone. Some (centres) will only reopen next week,” she said after conducting a standard operating procedure (SOP) check at The Playschool 3, Taska Bimbingan Cahaya, Jalan Sungai Maong, today.
The Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) had, on Nov 22, approved the reopening of childcare centres and kindergartens in both zones.
Fatimah said 62 childcare centres and kindergartens, with 1,498 children, in yellow zones in Miri and Limbang, have also reopened.
In other districts categorised as green zones in the state, there are 108 childcare centres and kindergartens in operation with 2,245 children.
“The majority of childcare centres are around Kuching. There aren’t that many in rural areas and we find that parents (especially both working in rural areas) prefer their children to be taken care at home by family members,” she said.
Fatimah said the centres and kindergartens in yellow and red zones were allowed to reopen as the service they provide is important to parents, especially if both are working and have no family members to take care of their children at home.
“They (childcare centres and kindergartens) are not like other businesses, they are more of a service and the operators are in it more because of their passion and not because it is a business that generates huge profits,” she said.
Fatimah said from the checks carried out, she was satisfied with the way operators in the state are complying with the SOP, including in yellow and red zones, adding that checks will continue to be carried out in the future.