The ECCD Policy advocates holistic development and quality care for newborn to children aged 6 and is monitored through the setting up of law and regulations, enforcement mechanisms and a special accreditation body.

There are two primary ECCD programs in the country, which include: 1) childcare education programs catering to children aged 0-3+ and 2) preschool education programmes (or kindergartens) targeting children 4 - 6. All kindergartens have to adhere to curriculum guidelines provided by the Ministry of Education.

Malaysia is one of the Asia Pacific countries to have developed multi-sectoral laws to provide guidance in establishing continuous and comprehensive services for children within specific age groups. To incentivize enrolment in ECCD programs from marginalized groups and poor families as well as conditional cash transfers programmes have been developed in Malaysia.


  • Lack of quality care in childcare services.
  • Enhancement of quality in preschools.
  • Gap between childcare and preschool education. Need for continuity between childcare and preschool curriculum.
  • Lack emphasis of special education in ECCD.
  • Affordability of childcare and preschool services.


  • Quality childcare and preschool education
  • Integration of childcare and preschool education
  • Special education for children with special needs

Ministries in charge

Services for age 0-3: Department of Social Welfare, Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development

Services for age 4-6: Ministry of Education, Ministry of Rural and Regional Development, Department of National Unity and Integration

Key Policies

  • The Child Care Centre Act of 1984, amendment 2007 (Act 308 & Act A1285)
  • The National Education Act of 1996 (Act 550)
  • Special Education Act of 1997, the Child Act 2001 (Act 611)
  • National Protection Policy for Children 2009
  • The National Nutrition Policy (2003)
  • The Early Childhood Care and Development Policy (2008)
  • Child Act (Amendment 2016)

National ECD Network

National Representative

  • Arnec National Representative Malaysia
    Ministry Of Education
    Ms. Regina Joseph Cyril

Noteworthy Practices

1. Resources for children from lower socio-economic background

Noteworthy aspects:

  • Locally-produced books sensitive to local cultures published by the Curriculum Development Division of the Malaysian Ministry of Education (MOE) disseminated to children where resource materials are scarce.
  • Achievements: Resources are distributed for free to all government preschools, as well as to some NGO-run preschools. Resources developed by preschool teachers in MOE-organized workshops and can be easily complemented by instructions and activities. Online resources are also made available for teachers in the form of teacher guides, modules and sharing of best practices.

2. SeDidik Centers for indigenous children

Noteworthy aspects:

  • A state government-initiated community-driven project in rural and remote areas to provide early education for indigenous children.
  • Achievements: Developing children’s early learning materials with mothers; providing parenting seminars to enhance parenting skills; providing advocacy services to local community and serving as community learning centers for mothers.

3. NGO-initiated program for indigenous communities (by PACOS Trust)

Noteworthy aspects:

  • Partnership between NGO, international companies, and local communities to provide ECCD programs as part of a comprehensive community-based program.
  • Achievements: Prepared children for primary schooling with curriculum from Ministry of Education Malaysia. Supported community organizations in 12 districts involving 25 geographical areas in the state of Sabah. Benefitted 17 ECCE centers in the state, 2020 children, by involving 71 teachers and caregivers.

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Early Childhood and Parenting Symposium 2023