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Children’s lives are at stake, Rina Harun should prioritise the addition of 1,500 child protection officers

The Minister of Women, Family and Community Development (KPWKM), Rina Harun, recently announced her plan to restructure the Department of Social Welfare (JKM) by hiring 8,000 contractual employees. This plan does not reflect JKM’s real needs in the field.

In actual fact, this proposed restructuring was already suggested when KPWKM was headed by Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail after we performed an audit and obtained results of the JKM Organization Management Survey (Kajian Pengurusan Organisasi JKM). This survey was carried out by the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU) from December 2018 to May 2019.

As of now, the number of JKM employees total up to as many as 6,000. Therefore, this begs the question as to how there can be an addition of another 8,000 more contractual employees just for one government department alone.

If Rina Harun is really serious about restructuring JKM, she first needs to give priority to increasing the number of child protection officers by 1,500, as well as psychology officers and welfare officers who need to investigate applications for assistance that are received.

Rina Harun is reminded that she should not even think about filling up these 8,000 contractual positions the way she selected volunteers for Yayasan Kebajikan Negara (YKN) who are actually paid allowances. (Up to this day, she has still not denied the allegation that they are members of Srikandi Bersatu).

Do not turn the Department of Social Welfare into a political branch. Social welfare work is not the same as political work. Rina Harun has to prove her commitment starting with the presentation of the Social Workers Profession Bill, and the appointment of more child protection officers as well as ensure that they receive adequate training. This is not a question of appointing political volunteers, this is a question of children’s lives that are at stake.

Hannah Yeoh
MP for Segambut

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