NEW MINISTER FOR WELFARE MINISTER OF MALAYSIA
Disabled Members Protest
ILTC Malaysia members staged a protest outside JPJ Wangsamaju KL.
Tuesday, 4 December 2007
The disabled want equal opportunities in jobs, basic rights
The Sun online : WEB EDITION :: Local News
The disabled want equal opportunities in jobs, basic rights by S. Tamarai Chelvi
KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 03, 2007): The disabled want equal opportunities to decent jobs and legislation to better protect their rights.
N. Surendran, the legal adviser for the Malaysian Coalition Against Discrimination of Disabled Persons (MADD), said: "We are not asking for unreasonable things. We are only asking for basic rights."
He said this to about 30 disabled persons, some on wheelchairs, gathered at the Bangsar LRT station yesterday, in conjunction with the UN’s International Day of Disabled Persons today. The theme this year is "Decent Work for Persons with Disabilities". The disabled are selling tissues paper at a corner. Why can’t they get a job instead of ending up selling tissue paper?" he asked.
The gathering was organised by several organisations representing the disabled, including MADD, Petpositive, Independent Living and Training Centre and Support Group for the Blind of Malaysia.
They called for equal rights and legislation to protect the disabled, in employment, education, health, transport and accessibility, and for a commission to oversee the implementation of the legislation.
They also urged the government to make Malaysia a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Anthony Thanasayan, chairman of The Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association (Petpositive), said the majority of the disabled had no jobs or faced difficulty finding decent jobs.
He said there was a lack of certain support systems, such as proper education or training opportunities in employable skills, accessible transportation to get to work and accessible workplaces.
He said some disabled persons, who were shortlisted in job applications were asked at the interview why they did not declare that they were disabled.
He added that some were paid less than able-bodied employees while others were kept in the waiting list for a long time.
Anthony said employers generally did not have confidence in hiring disabled people. "We disabled people don’t suffer from disabilities. It is the attitude [of others that] we suffer from," he said.
"If the country has such determination to send a man to space, then it should have the same determination and enthusiasm for us," he added.
At a press conference later, Surendran said a comprehensive legislation was needed to protect the needs of the disabled, including requiring employers to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate the disabled at the workplace.
The Disabled Persons Bill is expected to be tabled in Parliament on Dec 10. According to a news report, once the bill is passed, the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry will work with other relevant ministries to set up a council to look into policies for the disabled.
Updated: 12:16PM Mon, 03 Dec 2007