THERE is a good number of disabled persons with the necessary qualifications for employment. These include graduates from universities and technical institutions in Malaysia.
They want to earn respectable incomes so that they would not have to depend on aid from the government or their families. Unfortunately, persons with disabilities face huge problems getting good jobs because they are generally regarded as a liability or burden by employers who, being profit-oriented, would prefer physically healthy candidates.
Potential employers may also have limited means to accommodate disabled persons in their companies or organisations.
Given the fact that the human rights approach is gaining importance in Malaysia, particularly in light of the aspiration to become a developed nation that advocates, among others, a sustainable, caring and socially-inclusive society, a discrimination-free work environment for the disabled should be given due attention.
A legal framework to eliminate discrimination against this category of workers must be drawn up by the relevant authorities.
The approach of other countries can be emulated, such as the United Kingdom where equal employment opportunities for disabled persons is ensured by law.
Discrimination against a disabled worker is considered illegal and unlawful under Britain’s Equality Act 2010, which not only accords protection to a disabled employee but also extends protection to a disabled job applicant during the application and interview stage.
PROFESSOR DATUK SERI DR ASHGAR ALI ALI MOHAMED
International Islamic University Malaysia
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