Disabled community welcome benefits in hard times

A step at a time: Society of the Blind in Malaysia members outside Nube House in this file picture in Kuala Lumpur. The visually impaired community appreciates any form of aid provided in Budget 2021. — SS KANESAN/The Star

KLANG: Times are hard and family income has been slashed tremendously by the vagaries of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hence, it is a welcome move by the government to increase tax relief for disabled couples from the current RM3,500 to RM5,000.

“I believe it will be of great help in these difficult times, ’’ said Disability Equality Training (DET) facilitator Peter Tan, 53.

Tan, who is paralysed neck downwards, files joint income tax returns with his able-bodied wife Ng Swee Wuan.

“Most disabled people, who have no fixed wages, are suffering from sporadic income since the Covid-19 pandemic shook the nation.

“So any form of financial aid or relief is welcome, ’’ said Tan.

Visually impaired employee of the Malaysian Association of the Blind Siti Huraizah Ruslan, 37, said she was grateful for the allocation.

She said the next budget must emphasise empowering the disabled and placing them in jobs so that they could move away from charitable handouts and wholly stand on their own feet.

The disabled community’s representative in the Dewan Negara, Senator Ras Adiba Radzi, appreciates the allocations meant for her community in Budget 2021.

“But I wish the increase in allowances is a little big to meet the expenses we face in buying medicine and equipment, ’’ she said.

V. Omanah, 41, who is bedridden due to a severe case of slipped disc, said she was happy her disability allowance had been increased from RM250 to RM300.

“Every sen goes a long way. But I wish it had been a bit more than just a RM50 increase to keep up with the cost of living, ’’ said the single mother of two.

Academic Dr Mastura Mahamed, who is living with cerebral palsy, said she welcomed the increase in financial aid.

However, she hopes the government will look into increasing empowerment, education and opportunities for people living with various disabilities.

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