Sarawak to set up one-stop centre to cater to the needs of disabled community

State Women, Childhood and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah (second right) chatting with participants of a workshop on accessibility for the physically disabled in Kuching. - ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/The Star

KUCHING: Sarawak plans to set up a one-stop complex to cater to the needs of the disabled community from diagnosis to employment and residential care.

State Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said the proposed Special Needs Community Support Centre had been approved with a budget of RM50mil under the 12th Malaysia Plan.

She said the complex was currently at the early design stage.

"Once the design is approved, then we will be able to discuss the full details including the expected time of completion.

"We are in the midst of looking for a strategic site for the complex," she told reporters after opening a workshop on accessibility for the physically disabled on Friday (Jan 21).

Fatimah said the complex would have facilities for screening, diagnosis, education, vocational training, employment, talent development and residential care for elderly disabled persons.

She said while there were individual associations for various disabilities such as cerebral palsy, autism and dyslexia, as well as a state-run one-stop early intervention centre (OSEIC), none of them covered the whole chain of facilities.

"We have started with OSEIC which covers diagnosis, early intervention and rehabilitation but we want to include education, vocational training and employment.

"The complex will be where we try to put everything under one roof," she said.

Fatimah also said the complex would not duplicate what the associations were doing but would complement and supplement their work.

"We will fill the gaps, for example by providing education for disabled children who cannot be integrated into the school system," she said.

She said this was in line with the state government's policy towards a socially inclusive society.

"We want Sarawak to be able to cater for the special needs of the disabled with seamless access to services and facilities and not be left out," she added.

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