Wednesday March 28, 2007
By AUDREY EDWARDS
KAJANG: The time has come for a disabled person to be an appointed senator.
And Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil has written a letter to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi recommending it.
“Our nominees are involved in many fields. They have high qualifications and are experienced,” she told reporters after opening the National Down Syndrome seminar yesterday.
“They will be an example to Malaysians. The ministry feels the time has come to have at least one disabled person as a representative in the Dewan Negara.”
Shahrizat also said that a special counter would be opened at all district welfare offices beginning Sunday to serve people with disabilities, their family members and caregivers.
This, she said, was to make it easier for them to deal with matters such as aid, registration and equipment. The counter would be open daily during office hours.
On the access auditing being carried out by the ministry with the Housing and Local Government Ministry, Shahrizat said a report would be ready by the middle of the year.
The auditing is being done at all major towns in the country to examine the barriers in infrastructure such as buildings, roads and transportation against disabled people.
“I am not happy because I feel we have to do more. It is not difficult. It is just a question of whether to give importance to it or not,” she said.
“If we do not begin from now to make sure that all the facilities available are barrier-free, we will face trouble when we suddenly wake up and find that Malaysia is an ageing society and we are not prepared for it.”