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THE Women, Family and Community Development Ministry is banking on the Disabled Persons Bill to address all the problems faced by the disabled, including sexual abuse.
The bill will be tabled in parliament on Dec 10 and, once it becomes law, a new department for the disabled will be set up.
“I’m not surprised with the sentiment that no disabled person can walk on the street without fear of abuse.
“With the department, we’ll be able to identify all issues involving the disabled, including emerging issues like (sexual abuse),” said its minister, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.
“We must find new tools and solutions to the problem. We can do it. But (the emphasis of) our approach will be prevention,” she said.
Shahrizat admitted the employment of foreign workers by non-governmental institutions is becoming a worrying trend but once the bill becomes law, this will also be addressed.
“We have strict methodologies for the running of homes but, on a realistic level, we know this is happening.
“Many NGOs are doing good work but there are a few black sheep who are giving a bad name to others who are running professional homes.
“As the government, we too have to be careful in running our institutions and constantly look after our wards.”
Once the bill is passed, she said, a national council for the disabled, headed by her and representatives from ministries such as Human Resources, Health, Transport, Housing and Local Government as well as the Attorney-General’s Chambers, would be set up to implement all policies and plans for the disabled.
She said the council would ensure the full participation of the disabled in all sectors of society to realise the objectives of the proposed law.
“I’m very excited about this.
“The disabled have been waiting for too long to be recognised as people with full rights and dignity,” said Shahrizat.
The bill will, among other things, acknowledge the potential and contribution of the disabled towards the well-being and diversity of society and provide them with equal opportunities, protection and aid.
There are five main parts to the bill, including the role of the national council for the disabled, the creation of a registry of the disabled and the appointment of a chief registrar.
It also addresses issues such as protection for the disabled from legal actions and legal proceedings and the power of the ministry to make rules and prevent anomalies.