KUALA LUMPUR – Oct 6, 2016: The DAP’s Damansara Utama assemblywoman Yeo Bee Yin is adamantly dissatisfied despite today’s meeting with Permata, during which she was briefed on the early childhood education programme’s annual budget.
She did however expressed her appreciation for the meeting and hopes that Permata will continue to engage with the opposition parties.
After the two-hour meeting, Yeo said she was not satisfied because she was only shown the breakdown of Permata’s funding and not the audited accounts.
“I will not say I am satisfied until I inspect their audited accounts,” she remarked to reporters after the meeting at Kampung Kerinchi.
Permata working committee chairman Datuk Seri Dr. Siti Azizah Abod explained that initially she informed Yeo only wanted be briefed on Permata’s funding.
“Had we known that she wanted to look at our audited accounts signed by the auditor-general, we would have prepared it.
“I told her that if she wanted the report, she must send an official letter to Permata and the AG.
“But I did tell her that Permata gets roughly around RM40 million or RM50 million from the entire national budget for early-childhood education programmes,” said Azizah.
Aside from the funding, Yeo also questioned the rationale of placing Permata under the Prime Minister’s Department. She thinks that Permata’s programmes can be better coordinated if the organisation is parked under a ministry.
For example, the early education child-care programme, Permata Negara, should be under the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development because childcare is under this ministry’s purview.
In response Permata chief consultant Tan Sri Dr. Sharifah Habsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin said it would be unfeasible to do so because children below the age of five years are not within the purview of the ministry.
“But I assure you that although Permata is under the PM’s Department, we have no hiccups in collaborating and coordinating some programmes with the ministries.”
Today’s meeting was arranged following Yeo’s allegation that the programme had no strategic direction despite being heavily funded by the government.
Present were DAP members of parliament for Segambut, Lim Lip Eng, and DAP assemblywoman for Pulau Tikus, Yap Soo Hue.