MARAN: Only 736 small-scale nurseries are registered with the Welfare Department nationwide, said Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim.
The Women, Family and Community Development Minister said as for Pahang, there are only 51 registered 'small-scale' nurseries, which looked after less than 10 children.
She said it is important for operators to register nurseries with the Welfare Department to ensure that their babysitters are educated on the standard operating procedure (SOP) related to child care.
"For example, if a baby (under a babysitter's care) suddenly develops a fever, the babysitter will need to bring the baby to a clinic right away," she said.
Rohani was commenting over the Wednesday incident, where 13-month-old Ahnaf Hanafi Mohd Haniff lost consciousness while under the care of a babysitter at Indera Mahkota 15, in Kuantan.
The boy was sent to a clinic, where he was pronounced dead at 2.30pm.
Checks by the Pahang Welfare Department revealed that the nursery - which looked after Ahnaf Hanafi - was not registered.
Rohani was speaking during a press conference at the district-level Empower ECER (East Coast Economic Region) Convocation programme here today.
In the meantime, she urged parents to be more proactive and check the status of the nurseries before sending their infants and toddlers.
She said checks can be done via the Welfare Department's website, among other ways.
"This is in order to safeguard the safety and welfare of the children," she said.
She noted that the ministry always conducted engagements with small-scale nurseries and day-care centres to encourage them to register and undergo courses related to child care.
"We welcome them (small-scale nurseries) to come forward (to register) as many of them are experienced (in child care). It is only that they operate without registration.
Rohani warned that illegal nursery operators that action could be taken against them under Section 6 (2) of the Child Care Act 1984.
"They (unregistered small-scale nurseries) can be fined RM10,000 or jailed up to two years, or sentenced to both sentences (if convicted under the provision)," she said.
On Wednesday, the victim’s parents, Mohd Haniff Selaman @ Sulaiman, 28, and Rushidah Abdullah, 30, had sent the boy to the babysitter at 8.10am.
At 2.30pm, the babysitter known only as Alya informed the couple that their son had lost consciousness and was sent to a clinic, where the child later died.
Also present was Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Abdul Muttalib - who is also Maran member of parliament - and State Women, Family and Community Development, Communications and Multimedia Committee chairman Datuk Seri Shahaniza Shamsuddin.