THE National Council for the Blind Malaysia (NCBM) is producing a booklet to ensure people with disabilities are better able to exercise their right to vote.
Project manager Wong Yoon Loong said the booklet is aimed at educating personnel at polling stations.
“It is more about how they can help a person with a disability to vote, rather than about the procedure of voting,” Wong said.
He added that during the last general election, most polling stations were not accessible to voters with disabilities.
“Most personnel are not trained on how to handle persons with disabilities and help them cast their vote.
“For example, many polling stations are located in community halls and schools that do not provide barrier-free access.
“The lack of ramps for wheelchair-bound individuals to get around is a big problem.
“People might say why not just lift the wheelchair but we do not encourage people to carry a wheelchair.
“This is why the booklet on how to handle a person with disability will be very helpful,” he said.
Wong hoped the booklet titled Panduan Membantu Dan Berinteraksi Dengan Orang Kurang Upaya will be out before the next general election.
“The content is ready and we are in the midst of getting the visuals inserted.
“Once everything is in place, we hope to train Election Commission officers on the dos and don’ts,” he said after presenting Star Media Group Bhd and Sinar Harian with awards for publishing the most articles on persons with disabilities.
Wong said the council conducted research on media reporting on persons with disabilities in Malaysia between January 2012 and December 2013 before and after the 13th general election before producing the booklet.
The study was funded by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems.
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