S’wak Local councils, authority seek Unicef recognition as child-friendly city

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Dr Sim (centre) and witnesses Minos (seated left) and Gass signing the MoU documents.

KUCHING (July 10): Seven local councils and authority in Sarawak are seeking recognition as a Child Friendly City (CFC) under the United Nations Children Fund (Unicef), said Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Dr Sim Kui Hian.

According to him, this is in line with Sarawak’s nation-building and the goal of achieving world standard cities as enshrined in the Post-Covid 19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030 when the state reaches high-income and developed status by 2030.

“The World Bank just announced that Sarawak is a high-income state for the second consecutive year. What is the point of holding that status when we are still of Borneo standard?

“Despite coming from the jungle of Borneo, we want to be of world standard since we are a high-income state,” he said.

He was speaking during the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony between Kota Samarahan Municipal Council (MPKS) and Unicef on the participation in the Child Friendly Cities Initiative (CFCI) here today.

Following the MoU signing, MPKS is the seventh local council after Miri, Kuching South, Kuching North and Padawan to enter into an agreement with Unicef on the initiative.

The Bintulu Development Authority (BDA), which takes charge of the physical planning and development in Bintulu division, is next to sign a similar MoU with Unicef soon.

Speaking to reporters after the ceremony, Dr Sim explained the six local councils and a local authority, which he dubbed as ‘6+1’, have much to accomplish within the next three years to get accredited and officially recognised with the world standard classifications of CFC.

The Public Health, Housing and Local Government Minister said the CFCI will also be implemented to the smaller councils administering the districts once the ‘6+1’ have achieved their accreditation.

“These councils are bigger and have more resources.

“I don’t know how many more years they got to be certified and re-accredited, but hopefully when they do, we can bring in the district councils,” he said.

Meanwhile, MPKS chairman Dato Peter Minos said the council is very serious about its goal to provide a safe and secure environment for the children.

Upon being briefed by Unicef on this proposal, he said he firmly believed MPKS has the capacity to fully participate in the CFCI.

“As the chairman of Kota Samarahan Municipal Council, I am confident in MPKS’ ability to become one of the child-friendly cities in Sarawak.

“MPKS fully supports the CFCI and aims to become a place where children’s rights are protected and their voices are heard.

“At the same time, we acknowledge that we need to be guided by Unicef to ensure all requirements are fulfilled and adhered to by MPKS,” he said.

In kicking-off the CFCI in Kota Samarahan, he said MPKS is organising a virtual story-telling competition to create awareness among primary school kids in the area.

“We want to hear their vision for a child-friendly city. We also want to enhance their IT (information technology) skills by using digital platforms for the children to submit their stories,” he added.

Also present were Unicef representative in Malaysia, Robert Gass, and MPKS acting secretary Gustian Durani.

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