This Article is written by Mr. Anthony Thanasayan
President of PetPositive
Discrimination In Parliament House
DATELINE - PUCHONG, SELANGOR. SUNDAY:
LEADERS OF THREE DISABILITY ORGANISATIONS got together over the weekend to discuss the recent incident where at least one parliamentarian had made a remark about disability which has angered many handicapped Malaysians.
The able-bodied parliamentarian was reported to have said to another seated in a wheelchair that he ought to have asked permission to stand up at the session before he could comment on an issue.
This was not the first time that such a discriminatory remark about the disabled was uttered in Parliament House. The same disabled parliamentarian was told by another elected representative sometime last year that he was in a wheelchair because God had put him there.
That first statement eventually drew an outcry from some influential members of the House. The parliamentarian was made to apologise for his remarks.
The latest remarks, however, has not drawn any apology to date.
"We are really concerned when such negative remarks are made by our Parliamentarians," said Kennedy Hong, President of the Society of Chinese Disabled Persons of Malaysia (SCDPM) where the meeting was held.
"What does such behaviour say to our young people today?" He asked. Hong uses a wheelchair for mobility.
"We should be inculcating values that encourage everyone to respect the elderly and the disabled," echoed Alan Tan, the SCDPM's Deputy President.
Secretary of the Independent Living and Training Centre (ILTC) in Rawang, Selangor, Gurdip Kaur said: "I feel extremely sad that the disabled are forever amongst the most vulnerable in our society when in fact what we need are strong laws to protect our dignity and rights as handicapped Malaysians.
"Francis Siva - ILTC President - also voiced his dissatisfaction. He questioned the efficacy of the Disabled Act which was passed in Parliament recently.
"Can we use that law now to protect our rights?" he asked.
The two hour meeting was also attended by Anthony Thanasayan and his assistance dog, Soo.
Expressing his views, the President of the Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association (PETPOSITIVE) observed: "It's a pity that the that the "disabled" are rarely mentioned in Parliament.
"And when it happens, it is for a negative purpose.
"Leaders of the three non profit organisations are currently brainstorming ways on how they can best sensitize our elected representatives about the real issues confronting handicapped persons in our society.
Kindly watch this space for more developments on this story.
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