MELAKA – An intervention programme, such as Permata Kurnia, has important roles in unleashing extraordinary talents of children with autism and thus shaping them to become active citizens who contribute to the nation’s success, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.
He said early intervention could guarantee a better future for children, especially those with autism, and this was important in the government’s efforts to develop a more concerned and caring Malaysian community.
“Autistic children usually have extraordinary ability in one area, but may lack the ability in other areas. My wife has met with a six-year-old (autistic) child who has the ability to do chemical and mathematics calculations at the SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) level. So, there is a need for an intervention to unleash their hidden talents.
“It is possible that an autistic child, like the one who my wife had met, will become a scientist one day. This is one of our dreams for the future of children with autism,” he said when officiating the ground breaking ceremony for the Southern Zone Permata Kurnia Centre Project in Bukit Katil here today.
Also present were his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, who is also the patron of the Permata Negara programme; Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim; and Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron.
The RM6.5 million Southern Zone Permata Kurnia Centre, will be equipped with learning facilities, consultation rooms, gymnasium, playground, swimming pool and jogging track.
The construction work is expected to begin next month and be completed by early 2019.
The centre, which will be able to cater to the needs of up to 250 children with autism from Melaka, Negeri Sembilan and Johor, will also provide access to preschool, early intervention service and community education programmes.
Meanwhile, Najib also called on the public, especially parents of autistic children, to discard their superstitions about spells and black magic in regard to autism conditions and treatment, and to opt for modern treatment instead so that the children would be successful in the future.
“I once asked a manager of an autism centre in Sentul (Kuala Lumpur) whether parents from poor or B40 families were also sending their autistic children there.
“Unfortunately, the manager said those who sent their autistic children there were mostly in the M40 group. When I asked why, the manager said it was because most of the parents in the B40 group believe in superstitions. They believe that their (autistic) children are victims of black magic spells,” he said.
In another development, Najib said the success of the country should not be measured by looking only at the per capita income or the physical development, but also at the ability to develop a concerned and caring society with good values, or a kinder and softer Malaysia.
“This is what I had included in the National Transformation 2050 (TN50) initiative, that we are not just aimed for Malaysia to be ranked among the top 20 countries, but also for good values to be instilled in our society, so that we shall always be able to care and show compassion for the poor and less fortunate.
“This is the government we have today, unlike the opposition leader in a northern state who was using children to nurture hatred of the federal government, dancing to the GST song. Let him be with his ugly antics. We are working for the children’s future and will not exploit children,” the prime minister said.
He said this was the fact that made Barisan Nasional leaders different from the opposition’s and probably the reason why four DAP leaders quit the party last year.
They were Kota Melaka MP Sim Tong Him, Duyung assemblyman Goh Leong San (Duyong), Bachang assemblyman Lim Jack Wong and Kesidang assemblyman Chin Choong Seong (Kesidang). – BERNAMA