Badan Latihan dan Hidup Berdikari Malaysia (ILTC) pada 23hb Mac 2016 menyerahkan memorandum kepada ahli-ahli parlimen mendesak supaya golongan orang kurang upaya (OKU) dikecualikan daripada cukai barangan dan perkhidmatan (GST).

Disabled Members Protest

Disabled Members Protest
Disabled Members Protest at JPJ Wangsa Maju

ILTC Malaysia members staged a protest outside JPJ Wangsamaju KL.

ILTC Malaysia members staged a protest outside JPJ Wangsamaju KL.
Disabled group’s protest disabled drivers required to produce doc's medical report.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Room for all

Thursday December 1, 2011

Room for all

No more excuses for local councils to exclude the disabled and elderly in their development plans.

THE International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) will once again be commemorated on Dec 3. A yearly affair since it was established in 1992 by the UN General Assembly, the occasion is the most significant for people with disabilities (PWDs) the world over.

This weekend will be marked by scores of activities to highlight the event. They will include forums and public talks by PWDs, campaigns on information about disabilities, and celebrations to mark the true capabilities of handicapped individuals around the globe. All of this is to get disabled people into mainstream society so that they are able to take part in social life and in the nation’s development, just like non-disabled people.

One of IDPD’s focus is to help remove obstacles that stand in the way of the government’s implementation of disability-sensitive policies.

This year’s IDPD theme is: “Together for a better world for all: Including persons with disabilities in development.”

One of the most effective ways in bringing about positive changes for PWDs in Malaysia is to rope in the support of all local councils.

I was privileged to be in the company of scores of disabled people last week at two special events leading up to IDPD to bring about this exact effect.

The first was at the Selangor state secretariat building in Shah Alam. A special meeting was convened by Selangor Chairman of the Local Government, Study and Research Committee, Ronnie Liu, and important representatives from the 12 local councils in the state.

The purpose was to get each of them to set up a committee comprising PWDs and key members of the local councils in order to assimilate handicapped people into mainstream society.

By engaging with PWDs, each local council will be better informed on how to make the necessary changes, such as building ramps, disabled-friendly toilets and guiding blocks for the blind, the handicapped and the elderly residents in their constituencies.

The participation of the disabled will help local councils come up with appropriate and timely policies to integrate PWDs in towns and cities. From the feedback at the meeting, a few of the local councils said they did not know how to set up such a committee. Others did not seem to want to be bogged down with extra work.

Liu pointed out that there was no more excuses for any local council to not include the disabled and elderly in their development plans. He gave them two months to get their act together in coming up with a disability technical committee within their respective communities.

Meanwhile, more than 60 local councils from all over the country attended a recent two-day seminar on disability access at a leading hotel in Kuala Lumpur. It was the brainchild of Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, after playing an instrumental role a couple of months earlier in persuading the Cabinet to push for the setting up of disability committees in local councils throughout the country.

This was the first time that I had seen the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry and the Welfare Department tackle the issue of accessibility with local councils so seriously.

It clearly shows that society, including the non-disabled people who work together with us for change, is truly beginning to see that our real problem is the hostile environment outside.

I spoke later to some of the disabled participants who attended the seminar. They had some pertinent pointers to make for the organisers for future seminars:

> Please include some ordinary disabled people instead of some outstanding disabled personalities as speakers. The local councils might get the wrong picture and think all disabled people are successful. If that is the case, then why should local councils help? Also give handicapped speakers more time to speak instead of only five minutes.

> The ramp to the stage was unacceptable. It was steep and dangerous. This was a bad example for local councils who might “follow by example” in their designs.

> The hotel, supposedly a five-star one, had no disabled-friendly rooms among its more than 600 rooms. One disabled woman paid RM270 for a night’s stay, only to have to put up with much discomfort; she almost fell and injured herself. Another, a quadriplegic, returned to Pahang because the room he had booked turned out to be inaccessible. Sad to say, he did not turn up for the seminar the next day. Seminar organisers should be aware of what PWDs need when selecting venues.

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