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Wednesday December 3, 2008
By OH ING YEEN
THE disabled community will have something to look forward next year, Selangor executive councillor Ronnie Liu announced at the recent Dialogue with OKU (people with disablities) that there would be a special welfare programme for the disabled in the state next year.
The objective of the meeting was to provide a platform for people with disabilities living in Subang Jaya to voice out their problems and to seek solutions.
“This dialogue will be useful as we can use it as a reference for the programme,” he said, declining to reveal further information about the programme as it is still in the planning stage.
Also present at the meeting were Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh, Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) secretary Slamat Hamzah, Social Welfare Department (JKM) officer Jama’eah Abdul Ghani, sign language interpreter Azlina Mohamad Isa, as well as MPSJ councillors Ng Sze Han, Gary Chong, Sapiyan Mohd Din, Rabiah Omar, Datuk Dr Subramaniam @ Mutu Nadarajan, Joseph Xavier and Chia Yew Ken. Agnes Lee, who is involved in rights for the disabled, was the moderator.
Preceding the meeting was a performance by members of the Beautiful Gate Foundation, which drew cheers from the audience.
Among the issues and suggestions put forward by the disabled and their caretakers were:
>Improvements at the Social Welfare Department in terms of parking and accessibility;
>MPSJ to rectify the inconsistency in the distribution of stickers for the disabled and caretakers;
>A government hospital in Subang Jaya;
>Education and job opportunities for the disabled;
>JKM to improve on its services; and
>Flexibility in banking in the allowance for the by the JKM.
Alan Kok, who is wheelchair-bound, hoped that Subang Jaya could be a more disabled-friendly place to live in.
“Even if some buses have disabled-user facilities, I have difficulty travelling to the bus stop itself.
“We have a lot to offer; it’s not that we don’t want to work. We can work from home, and in jobs like translating and web-designing,” he said.
Citing the MBPJ Transit OKU as an example, some voiced the need for a similar mode of transport for the disabled in Subang Jaya as well as other municipalities. “This is so that the disabled can travel from one town or city to another without transportation problems,” said Bathmavathi Khrishnan of the Malaysian Confederation of the Disabled.
She also raised the issue of the need for a government hospital in Subang Jaya and for the public community halls to be more accessible.
Yeoh said while some of the issues could not be solved on the spot, the problems and suggestions would be compiled and looked into.
She added that flaws in the system would be highlighted to the decision makers for action.
She appealed to the media to highlight the need for employers to offer jobs for the disabled.
She also commended the caretakers and was choked with emotion when she related the experience of her bedridden grandfather.
“You are also taxpayers, you are also Malaysians, you deserve every right, just like all of us,” Yeoh told the members of the disabled community who were present.
Jama’eah said the process for the disabled to register with the social welfare department.
“You will be issued a card, which is like a licence, and it is useful when applying for financial assistance, OKU organisation membership, workshops and other benefits.
“For those who are bedridden, the representative can send the application on their behalf.
“A doctor will then verify the category of disability,” she said.
Slamat said that “OKU” should mean “Orang Kuat Usaha” instead of “Orang Kurang Upaya”.
“We will do our best at our level for sustainable planning for every- one,” he said.
“The issues brought up today can be resolved but it will involve various parties, such as the Social Welfare Department, Special Education Department, Works Ministry and other relevant parties,” Liu said.
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