The disabled need help and suitable facilities

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  • Thursday, 07 Nov 2019

Isak (holding white cane) trying to get off a boat in central Sarawak with help from others. Disabled-friendly facilities for people like him are sorely lacking.

ISAK Ngau, who is blind, is very frustrated with the situation for people with his problem.

He and a fellow blind friend have just returned from a trip where they boarded boats and buses throughout central Sarawak to check whether there were disabled-friendly facilities, and came back disappointed.

Isak lamented the lack of pathways, ramps and seats for the disabled on boats and buses and at their terminals.

“The situation has not improved over the years.

“We have been talking to the authorities, bus companies and boat operators but nothing has changed.

“Only the airports in Sarawak have improved their facilities to meet our needs.

“The rest do not care enough,” he said.

Isak and his group from Society for the Blind Malaysia (Sarawak branch) have written a memorandum to Suhakam to highlight their plight.

They want Suhakam to intervene and help the disabled.

The disabled in Sarawak who are mostly poor and are still struggling to survive daily and need aid like insurance coverage for health. Blind couple Philip Asui and wife Diana said it was high time the disabled like them were given free health insurance coverage.

“Some of the disabled have many health problems and cannot afford some treatments required.

“There are many aged blind folk suffering from heart ailments, muscle degeneration and other health issues.

“While the government hospitals do give subsidised treatment to the disabled, their facilities are limited.

“It will be good if the government can give us insurance coverage to enable us to seek treatment at private hospitals,” Asui said.

Wheelchair-bound Wong Bee Kim, 61, is also one of thousands in Miri considered as urban poor who needs help.

She was formerly from a squatter colony and was resettled under the Tudan squatter resettlement scheme.

The single mother of two has seven grandchildren and all of them are staying with her in her rented house.

Her two daughters are also single mothers as their husbands abandoned them.

Wong is getting RM350 in monthly aid from the Sarawak Social Welfare Department and the family survives on this.

Her daughters do odd-jobs to make ends meet.

In Miri, there are thousands of urban poor who are also disabled.

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disabled , Suhakam , health


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