Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak invited Malaysians on Facebook and Twitter to ask him questions from 4.30 pm to 5.30 pm today. The Twitter hashtag is #tanyanajib while questions through Facebook can be submitted at www.facebook.com/najibrazak. I have never seen a Twitter timeline scroll down so fast. Due to the overwhelming response, the time to pose questions was extended to 6.00 pm.
I thought that this would be a good opportunity to pose the questions on longstanding disability issues to him and see if he responds. These issues are, after all, not new but ones that have gone unresolved for the longest time. Will Najib address any of them? Time will tell. By the way, at this moment, #tanyanajib is trending in ninth position worldwide. We sure have a lot of questions for the Prime Minister!
#tanyanajib Why are roads in KL full of potholes? Dangerous to motorcyclists. DBKL not doing a good job.
#tanyanajib Why is Prasarana/RapidKL so reluctant in using non-step buses? We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Look at Japan and Australia.
#tanyanajib Why is full relief on income tax not given to purchase of rehabilitative and support equipment for disabled people?
#tanyanajib Will you amend UBBL 34A to make it COMPULSORY for all buildings and street environment to have access for disabled people?
#tanyanajib Will the MRT be barrier-free?
#tanyanajib What is the govt doing to prevent abuse of parking and toilet for disabled people?
#tanyanajib Public transport is not accessible. Disabled people stuck at home. What is the govt doing to resolve this?
#tanyanajib Will Malaysia enact punitive anti-discrimination law to protect the rights of disabled people?
#tanyanajib Join OKUs on a wheelchair ride around KL to experience the mega-problems we face everyday. Not much has changed since Akta OKU.
#tanyanajib Is the govt changing “orang kurang upaya” to something more empowering? We certainly are not people of lesser abilities.
What is the govt’s plan in making Malaysia barrier free? If yes, is there a time frame to it? #tanyanajib @ShahrizatJalil
Tags: abuse of accessible parking, accessible parking, accessible toilet, Akta OKU 2008, Akta Orang Kurang Upaya 2008, barrier-free, disabled parking, disabled people Malaysia, disabled toilet, discrimination against disabled people, handicap parking, handicap toilet, handicapped parking, MRT, Najib Tun Razak, orang kurang upaya, Persons with Disabilities Act 2008, Prime Minister of Malaysia, rights of disabled people, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, UBBL 34A, Undang-Undang Kecil 34A Undang-Undang Kecil Bangunan Seragam, Uniform Building By-Law 34A, wheelchair user Malaysia
Press Release: Human Rights Day 2010: “Against All Odds”
Thursday, 09 December 2010 10:40am
On 10 December this year, the Bar Council Human Rights Committee once again joins the rest of the world in celebrating Human Rights Day.
Our focus this year is on the rights of persons with disabilities.
Malaysia recently ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (“CRPD”). While the Malaysian Bar welcomes this move, there are still grave concerns on the Government’s reservations to Article 3 on general principles, Article 5 on equality and non-discrimination, Article 15 on freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Article 18 on liberty of movement and nationality, and Article 30 on participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport.
Malaysia has also not signed or ratified the Optional Protocols of CRPD, which grant specific rights to the citizens/residents of a country to refer their government to the international supervisory committee for non-compliance with any of the articles.
Locally, the Persons with Disabilities Act 2008 has yet to be amended to provide for any form of punishment or remedy for breaches.
These are fundamental issues that need to be addressed, to give full force and effect to the CRPD, without which the rights of persons with disabilities in this country are not even close to being fully acknowledged, what more protected.
Aimed at raising public awareness on rights of persons with disabilities, “Against All Odds” will feature a Public Forum on Persons with Disabilities Act 2008 that will take place on 12 December 2010 (Sunday) from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the Bar Council Auditorium, No 15, Leboh Pasar Besar, 50050 Kuala Lumpur.
Invited panellists, and the topics of discussion, are:
(a) Professor Dr Tiun Ling Ta, President, Persatuan Orang Cacat Anggota Malaysia: “Opportunities in education – early, primary, secondary and tertiary”;
(b) Zakaria b Yahaya, Teacher, Sekolah Menengah Pendidikan Khas Setapak, Kuala Lumpur: “Observation and expectation from the vocational and recreational perspectives”;
(c) Helen Chin, advocate and solicitor: “Malaysia’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and human rights for the disabled community in Malaysia”;
(d) A representative from the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) (TBC): “Commitments by the government ministries and agencies”; and
(e) A representative from the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (TBC): “Enjoying life from human rights perspectives”.
The forum will be conducted in both Bahasa Malaysia and English.
After a successful inaugural event in 2008, the Bar Council Human Rights Debate is now being featured again in conjunction with the Human Rights Day celebrations. It is a three-day event that will be held from 10-12 December 2010 (Friday to Sunday) at KDU University College, Section 13 Campus, No 76, Jalan Universiti, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Aimed at promoting free speech and creating greater awareness and education of human rights standards, while at the same time advocating important principles of international rights law, the theme for this year’s Human Rights Debate is “Against All Odds – Making a Difference for Human Rights”.
Out of RM30,000.00 prize money allocated from registration fees and corporate sponsorships, RM25,000.00 will be donated equally to five institutions caring or advocating for persons with disabilities from all over the country, to be selected by the Bar Council Human Rights Committee. The remaining RM5,000.00 will be awarded as prize money to the champion of the tournament.
Teams from 18 institutions, including some from India, Bangladesh, Philippines and Singapore, as well as local universities such as Universiti Malaya and Universiti Putra Malaysia, have registered for the tournament.
This is a unique debating tournament, the first in the world to be hosted by a statutory body of legal professionals.
Admission to both the public forum and the human rights debate tournament is free, and open to the public. Due to limited space, pre-registration is required in order to attend the public forum. To register, please contact Adi Irman by telephone at 03-2031 3003 ext 105 or by email at email@example.com.
9 Dec 2010
Tags: Akta OKU 2008, Akta Orang Kurang Upaya 2008, Bar Council, Convention of the Right of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD, disabled people Malaysia, discri, discrimination against disabled people, Helen Chin, human rights, Human Rights Day, Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat, Jabatan Pembangunan Orang Kurang Upaya JPOKU, JKM, Kementerian Pembangunan Wanita Keluarga dan Masyarakat, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Pe, POCAM, Ragunath Kesavan, rights of disabled people, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, Society of the Orthopaedically Handicapped Malaysia, The Malaysian Bar, Tiun Ling Ta
HELP and BBDO/Proximity Malaysia: Wheelchair Drunk Driving campaign poster.
Click on image to enlarge.
While searching for information on wheelchair companies in Malaysia, I came across a campaign against drunk driving by HELP and BBDO/Proximity Malaysia. This poster won the 2008 Golden Kancil Award. Although that poster appeared two years ago, I need to say something that had weighed heavily in my mind since I discovered it.
Having used a wheelchair for more than half of my life, I thought I have gone through enough to not be deeply affected by discrimination, oppression and ignorance of the general public regarding the endless issues faced disabled people. But the people at HELP and BBDO/Proximity Malaysia proved me wrong. I was deeply insulted by that campaign poster against drunk driving.
The main image in the poster showed a wheelchair assembled from parts of a wrecked car driven by a supposedly drunk driver. The text stated that “Drink driving is a problem among youths” and that “HELP wanted to change this attitude by reminding youths of a fate worse than death.” Another message written on a car door says: “Drink and drive and you might live to suffer the consequences”.
Being in a wheelchair is a fate worse than death.
What? Being in a wheelchair is a fate worse than death? Wheelchair users are all suffering the consequences? This is proof of how deeply ingrained the perceptions of disabled people still are in the mind of the general public who think that our life is not worth living anymore. We are still being viewed through lenses tinted with great prejudices.
In one fell swoop, not only are wheelchair users stereotyped as drunk drivers suffering the consequences of inebriety. Wheelchair users are also portrayed as having a fate worse than death. To you people at HELP and BBDO/Proximity Malaysia, thank you so much for enlightening me that my life in a wheelchair has little value and meaning. I truly did not realise that I would have been better off dead.
Drink and drive and you might live to suffer the consequences.
I am not against campaigns against drunk driving. We certainly need to put the message across that drunk driving kills and maims, not only the driver but innocent people as well. However, I take offense that wheelchair users are portrayed in such a negative manner, especially in an era when disabled people still face hardship and inequality in society. Moreover, the impairments of most wheelchair users are due to diseases, accidents unrelated to drunk driving or congenital.
Shame on all the people at HELP and BBDO/Proximity Malaysia involved in this campaign. You have done a great injustice to wheelchair users, not only in Malaysia but all over the world, who despite the barriers that we face every day, have moved on in life. If only all of you had bothered to get to know disabled people, you would have discovered that we are determined to make the most out of our lives just like everyone else.
And NO, being in a wheelchair is NOT a fate worse than death. Although we cannot say we are enjoying it, this is who we are. We cannot change that. But what we can and want to change are all the negative perceptions surrounding disabled people. Advertising agencies, with their ability to move public opinion, should work with disabled people to dispel those myths and perceptions instead of using us as objects of bad examples.