KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 (Bernama) — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today he hoped that more Permata centres and programmes will be introduced nationwide in the effort to nurture a stronger and more resilient future generation.
He said that in line with Permata’s philosophy that “every child is precious” and that “no child should be left behind”, he believed that every child should be given equal opportunities to succeed in life.
“The government has fully supported this programme because everyone should get a fair start from childhood and have the ability to rise meritocratically according to their talents so that the only difference that a person succeeds or not is not because he or she is not given the opportunity but whether he or she wants or desires to succeed,” he said when opening the Permata International Conference here.
Also present was Najib’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, who is Permata patron. Permata is an early childhood education and care programme.
Najib said he also hoped that more private sector organisations would come forward to support and contribute to the development and goals of Permata.
“I personally would like to see more Permata centres and programmes throughout the country. Let us play our part so that this philosophy of Permata will be deeply rooted in our society,” he said.
Relating to the delegates how he had come to fully support Permata and its vision to the delegates, Najib said that in 2006 Rosmah had presented him with the idea of Permata with help from experts in early childhood education.
He said the experts had convinced him that investing in early childhood education and care now would actually bring long-term benefits and positive outcomes as in spending less later.
“Because, if a person is strong, if a person can make the right chooice, if a person is imbued with strong values, is emotionally stable and psychologically strong and is infused with the right knowledge, then that person is not likely to be a drug addict nor a criminal, nor present social ills and problems to society.
“So, you are spending less later on. And, as the Finance Minister, when I heard spend less later, it means it’s a smart decision to make. Spend today and invest in our children, you will reap the benefits later on,” he said.
Najib said that as a leader, he wanted to see that the future generation of Malaysians would be strong physically, mentally and spiritually in facing the challenges ahead.
Citing development of the social media, Najib said that while the government could not block or censor the Internet, the young people must be equipped with the ability to make the right choice when accessing information on the Internet.
Najib commended Permata and its programmes, which focused on providing quality education and developing children’s talents from an early age, and which have won recognition in the country and internationally.
“Beginning with quality early childhood education and care, Permata has through its various initiatives identified the different talents in children – especially those from rural areas and low-income urban families as well as those with special needs – and provided them with opportunities to realise their potential,” he said.
He also congratulated Permata on winning the Children Welfare Award at the Global Good Governance Awards in Istanbul recently.
Some 1,900 delegates from around the world, comprising early childhood care and education experts and advocates, are attending the three-day conference.