PETALING JAYA: Malaysians should support the nation's Paralympics contingent in Rio de Janeiro to see what people with disabilities (PWDs) are capable of, said Malaysian Disabled Development Society president Mohd Faisal Che Yusof.
"It is about awareness among Malaysians towards the potential and abilities of PWDs. This is a very basic and common challenge. Malaysians can be aware of means and ways to support PWDs in every aspect of their lives, including sports and the Paralympics," said Mohd Faisal.
He said that events like the Paralympics could help Malaysians see the issues faced by PWDs.
"Events like the Paralympics can help Malaysians to 'wake up' when it comes to issues faced by people with disabilities. This is a very common, very basic challenge in our society. Only then can we talk about equal treatment for our athletes. The public still isn't fully aware about the abilities of PWDs," said Mohd Faisal who also serves as a Bar Council Human Rights Committee member.
He added that he hoped the support given to 100m T36 (cerebal palsy) runner Ridzuan Puzi marked the beginning of greater awareness by Malaysians of the abilities of the nation's PWD community.
"The public should be aware of our abilities. As it is, there aren't many media outlets who give PWDs coverage and bring up issues that are relevant to the PWD community from time-to-time,"said Mohd Faisal, who is visually challenged.A video of Ridzuan receiving the gold medal at the 2015 IPC World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar went viral shortly before the Malaysian Paralympics contingent left for Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, with some netizens assuming that the video was from the 2016 Paralympics, which is set to run from Sep 7 to Sept 18.