JOHOR BARU: The state government is taking proactive measures to create a more disabled-friendly environment for the hearing and speech impaired group when having to deal with staff at the federal and state offices and departments.
Johor Women and Family Development committee chairman Asiah Ariff said that Johor was the first in the country to place the front liner staff who could communicate in sign language.
She said 28 staff from the National Registration Department, Road Transport Department, Syariah Court, Johor Islamic Religious Council and state Welfare Department were tasked with learning to serve hearing and speech impaired visitors at the respective departments.
It is a pity to see those with hearing and speech disabilities having communication problems when dealing with staff at these departments as the staff do not understand sign language, Asiah said.
She told reporters this after presenting certificates to the 28 staff who had completed their six-month Bahasa Malaysia sign language class organised by Yayasan Pembangunan Keluarga Darul Tazim (YPKDT).
Asiah said YPKDT had extended the sign language course to front liners at all 16 local councils in Johor and for next year, it would be introduced to government hospitals and district office staff.
“We also plan to extend the sign language class to the private sector,” she said.
Separately, Asiah said YPKDT had this year started a job coaching programme to assist the handicapped seeking jobs in their respective areas or districts.
She said under the Job Coach Volunteering Programme, volunteers would go around identifying and assisting the handicapped to get jobs.
“The volunteers play the role of a matchmaker between the job seekers and companies which offer jobs suitable for those based on physical abilities and educational background,” said Asiah.
She said so far 27 had volunteered for the programme and they had managed to get 94 handicapped job seekers, adding that the volunteers would provide time with job training before they were hired.
Asiah said most of the volunteers were youths, from non-governmental organisations and individuals who could help those from the local communities.
“Training the handicapped for job replacement is quite easy but convincing employers, especially from the private sector, to hire the handicapped is not that easy,” she said.