IT IS the desire of people with disability, especially wheelchair users, to be able to travel to locations independently.
As such, Malaysia Independent Living Association For Disabled (Milad) and Gift of Life Society are appealing to the public to help them raise the money to buy a van costing RM120,000.
The van has to be installed with a hydraulic lift, which is estimated to cost RM25,000. The lift is necessary to enable wheelchair users to get in and out of the van.
Damansara MP Tony Pua, who was at the press conference for the fundraising appeal, urged the public and communities to step up to assist the needy group.
“We must enable the disabled to live independently, by removing barriers especially in the area of transportation. I will do my part as an MP and assist them, but I urge the public and especially the corporate sector to also support the cause.
“The government may not be able to provide grants to all charitable bodies but there are tax exemptions in place.
“Donations to Gift of Life Society are tax-exempted, so I hope both the public and corporations will chip in to help,” said Pua.
Milad president Esther Lim said people with disability desired to have the freedom to determine their own path.
“We do not want to be limited in where we can go or what we can do.
“Milad provides independent living skills and mobility to people with disability.
“Currently, there are vans out there providing transport to wheelchair users but the service is always fully booked.
“We want to enable more people to benefit from the service,” said Esther, a polio victim.
She said her disability did not prevent her from pursuing a law degree in the UK and practising law for the past 24 years.
“I was blessed as my parents supported me. I hope more people with disability would have access to places that will open doors of opportunity,” said Esther, adding that she experienced good independent living concept in the UK.
Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lim Yi Wei said her office would donate RM10,000 to the donation drive.
She highlighted that the state government launched the Selangor Special Children Aid (AnIS) scheme last month to provide emergency funds of up to RM5,000 a year to families with children who have disability.
“The disabled child must have a registered OKU card and the parents must have lived in Selangor for at least 10 years.
“They can use the funds to purchase aids recommended by government hospitals,” said Yi Wei.
Gift of Life Society president Wendy Chan said anyone with questions could contact the society at 017-671 7322 or www.facebook.com/GiftOfLifeSociety/