N E W S
Wednesday December 19, 2007
First disabled senator takes oath
By MANJIT KAUR
First Disabled Senator
KUALA LUMPUR: Prof Datuk Dr Ismail Md Salleh, who is blind, created history yesterday when he became the first disabled person to be appointed a senator.
Dr Ismail, 60, took the oath before Dewan Negara president Tan Sri Dr Abdul Hamid Pawanteh yesterday.
The academician and economist, who is married and has six children, said he was delighted when told about his appointment a few days ago.
Dr Ismail, originally from Kelantan and who now lives in Kajang, has been totally blind since he was 13.
Dr Ismail said with the appointment, there would now be a voice for the disabled community.
“I would like to thank Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for the appointment, and Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil for nominating my name,” he told reporters after the ceremony yesterday.
Dr Ismail graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the State University of New York in 1973, and received his Master of Science (Economics) from the University of Illinois in 1974, before obtaining his PhD from the same university in 1977.
The Malaysian Association of the Blind (MAB) president also sits on various committees and working groups in the local and internationals levels.
He is the International University College of Technology Twintech vice-chancellor, National Association of Bumiputra Private Colleges president and National Economic Consultative Council chief rapporteur.
He is also a member of the National Implementation Task Force in the Prime Minister’s Department, and the East Asia International Council for the Education of the People With Visual Impairment chairman.
In 2001, in recognition of his work as well as his contribution to the country and the international community, he was awarded the Doctor of Literature from the Irish International University by the European Union.
Dr Ismail said among others, the issues he would bring up would be on education, jobs and facilities for the disabled.