Are Good Days Coming For Disabled Persons In Malaysia?

Cik Norani bt. Mohd. Hashim at the closing ceremony of Peer Counselling Workshop 2007
Cik Norani bt. Mohd. Hashim (standing) at the closing ceremony of Peer Counselling Workshop 2007.
Photo by Wuan.

At the closing ceremony of the Peer Counseling Workshop the Pengarah of Bahagian Pembangunan Orang Kurang Upaya Cik Norani bt. Mohd. Hashim of the Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat Malaysia (JKMM) informed participants on the plans the Kementerian Pembangunan Wanita, Keluarga dan Masyarakat are working on in relation to disabled persons.

The ministry is drawing up a Policy for People for Disabilities and a National Action Plan for People with Disabilities. They are also working to get the Disabled Persons Bill tabled and passed in the Parliament this year and are going to sign the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities next year.

These are all good news. However, I hope this is not an election year gimmick to show that the government is concerned with disability issues just to gain a few extra votes. Disabled persons have been waiting for too long to be recognised as citizens of Malaysia with full rights and dignity.

If the government is serious in addressing the problems faced by disabled persons, they must have a comprehensive plan to mainstream disability. Disabled persons must not be seen as people who are different from the rest of society. We have needs just like everyone else. We are part of society and these needs must be recognised and addressed as part and parcel of society’s problems rather than seen as extra, additional and exclusive from society. Hopefully, the government will follow through with the plan to address challenges faced by disabled persons as outlined by Cik Norani. I am keeping my fingers doubtfully crossed.