Noh: Equip play­grounds to com­pete with vir­tual world

The Star Malaysia - - Nation -

PU­TRA­JAYA: Play­grounds should no longer be just about swings, slides and see-saws but a place where chil­dren can also im­prove their knowl­edge and de­velop so­cial skills.

This is the kind of play­ground needed to get the young ones to come out and play, said Ur­ban Well­be­ing, Hous­ing and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Tan Sri Noh Omar.

He said the dig­i­tal era has re­sulted in chil­dren spend­ing more time in the vir­tual world in­stead of en­gag­ing in phys­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties and in­ter­act­ing with their peers.

He said that gone were the days when large open spa­ces awaited the young, en­tic­ing them to play games such as konda-kondi, cat­a­pult, po­lice and thieves, and oth­ers that en­cour­aged phys­i­cal, men­tal and so­cial de­vel­op­ment.

“This is why our play­grounds must now in­clude el­e­ments of knowl­edge build­ing and dis­cov­ery so that chil­dren can boost their in­tel­li­gence and so­cial skills.

“This is im­por­tant, apart from en­sur­ing that these spa­ces are com­fort­able, safe and can be used by chil­dren of dif­fer­ent ages and abil­i­ties,” he said.

His speech was read out by min­istry sec­re­tary-gen­eral Datuk Seri Mo­ham­mad Men­tek at the open­ing of a seminar on chil­dren’s play­grounds and the use of stan­dards to set up these fa­cil­i­ties.

Noh said the Gov­ern­ment, aim­ing to make Malaysia “a coun­try in a gar­den” by 2020 and en­cour­age pos­i­tive growth among the chil­dren, cre­ated 45 pub­lic parks be­tween 1997 and 2013, spend­ing a to­tal of RM500mil for this pur­pose.

“For the first two years of the 11th Malaysia Plan, RM57mil has been ap­proved for the open­ing of five pub­lic parks and 38 other projects such as play­grounds and mini ex­er­cise ar­eas,” he said.

Noh said that while the Gov­ern­ment is de­ter­mined to give the peo­ple a good qual­ity life, the onus is on them to en­sure the fa­cil­i­ties pro­vided are not van­dalised.

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