Sarawak athletes, through their remarkable achievement at the Tokyo Paralympics 2020, have broken the glass ceiling for people with disabilities.
State Welfare, Community Well-being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said their success would help ease the arduous journey people with disabilities usually faced.
Fatimah made the comment via a social media post after welcoming home five athletes and a coach at Kuching International Airport on Malaysia Day.
They were Bonnie Bunyau Gustin, Jong Yie Khie, Jameri Siga, Muhammad Nur Syaiful, Wiro Julin and coach Jamil Adam.
Powerlifter Bonnie delivered Malaysia’s first gold when he won the men’s 72kg competition.
The 22-year-old had also shattered the Paralympic record at 228kg.
Meanwhile, Jong, also a powerlifter, won a silver for the country in the men’s 107kg category.
“The success of our Paralympic athletes has created an awareness among the community on the ability of people with disabilities.
“Let’s look at their abilities and not just their disabilities,” Fatimah said, adding that when people with disabilities are given a chance to hone their talents with the help of a good coach, they will shine.
“Their success has uplifted the dignity of their peers; giving hope, motivation and inspiration to strive harder so they too can experience success,” she added.
On the significance of Malaysia Day, she expressed hope that the entire chain of services, facilities and opportunities for people with disabilities in Sarawak would be improved.
“We need not only improve policies, but must also ensure effective implementation of programmes while addressing gaps in early diagnosis and intervention, life skills and vocational training, talent development, employment and welfare.
“The needs of homes for the severely handicapped who do not have caregivers should also be looked into,” she asserted.