“DO NOT be afraid, just ask us if we need help” is a message the disabled wish to convey to the public.
National Council for the Blind Malaysia (NCBM) Centre for Advocacy, Research and Empowerment manager Wong Yoon Loong said there was often a sense of uncertainty when it came to helping the disabled.
“The blind, for example, do not know who is around, so it is not easy for them to seek help,” he said.
To address this issue, NCBM and its partner organisations put together an illustrated guide titled Panduan Memberi Sokongan dan Berinteraksi dengan Orang Kurang Upaya.
“We hope this booklet will bridge the gap between the abled and disabled,” he said during the launch of the booklet at Grand Seasons Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.
Wong hoped the book would be used by the Election Commission officers during the general election.
“About 15% of the population is categorised as disabled and many are registered voters.
“However, most election personnel are not trained to assist them when they cast their votes,” said Wong, who is visually impaired.
Malaysian Confederation of the Disabled president Mohamad Sazali Shaari said most accessibility issues could be solved with simple human interaction.
“This booklet is a guide on how to help the disabled without injuring either party,” he said, adding that it also featured ways to interact with people of various disabilities.
Also present were NCBM Public Awareness Committee chairman Datuk Rosalind Chew and NCBM executive director Moses Choo.
Chew said NCBM was open to holding training sessions for public and private sectors for a more practical approach on how to reach out to the disabled.
The initiative was funded by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems.
NCBM will distribute the booklets to libraries, while those interested to get a copy can visit its office at Menara Sentral Vista, Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur.
For details, call 03-2276 2973 or email firstname.lastname@example.org