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Published: Tuesday December 10, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday December 10, 2013 MYT 7:16:36 AM

Paraplegic senator fights for the disabled

Tireless advocate: Dewan Negara president Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang (right) congratulating Bathmavathi after she was sworn in as a senator.

Tireless advocate: Dewan Negara president Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang (right) congratulating Bathmavathi after she was sworn in as a senator.

PETALING JAYA: When Bath­mavathi Krishnan became a paraplegic after an accident in 1975, she believed her world had come to an abrupt end.

The then 21-year-old Universiti Malaya undergraduate could only imagine a bleak future for herself, as she could not accept that she would never walk again.

However, with the encouragement of her family, she managed to propel herself out of the nightmare and strove to become an advocate for the rights of the disabled.

Bathmavathi, 59, was recently sworn in as a senator in Dewan Negara in recognition of her efforts in creating awareness about the needs of the disabled community since 1978.

“It is certainly a great honour for me. It is also the best ever platform a disabled activist can get to push forward an agenda to ensure our country is an accessible place for people with all kinds of disabilities,” said Bathmavathi.

She said that her main aim was to ensure that policies and programmes for the disabled were included in the mainstream of the country’s national development plan.

Bathmawathi, who started her first day in Dewan Negara on Monday, is also the founding pre­sident of the Association of Women With Disabilities Malay­sia.

“I have been working and participating in many events and activities in engaging the government in issues related to the disabled community,” she said.

Bathmavathi became disabled when she was knocked down by a university bus.

In order to make amends, the university made the necessary adjustments so that she could complete her degree in Malay Studies.

“I was the university’s first disabled student and ramps were set up in various places and lecture rooms were shifted to the ground floor.

“I was also given a big ground floor room.

“My elder sister, who was working in Kuala Lumpur at that time, was allowed to stay with me so that she could take care of me at night,” said Bathmavathi.

She added that the university had also hired a helper to take care of her during the day.

Tags / Keywords: Government, bathmavathi krishnan, senator, disabled

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