Tag Archives: The Star Online

Bigotry In Malaysia

MACC counsel Datuk Abdul Razak Musa then stood up to protest Karpal’s continued use of the word “murder” in pertaining to Teoh’s death.

When Karpal, who is in a wheelchair, told Abdul Razak to “sit down”, the latter replied: “I will sit down but you cannot stand up.”

The Star – January 15, 2010

Abdul Razak must have thought that his shooting from the hip was the perfect rebuttal to Karpal. Although the remark was pointed at Karpal, it has, in one fell swoop, affronted all wheelchair users. This is a blatant disregard for the dignity of disabled people.

Of all people, I would least expect a lawyer to say something as disrespectful as this. Ridiculing a disabled person’s condition is bigotry just like how making deprecating remarks along racial lines is considered racism. Let there not be a doubt regarding this.

This is also an indication of how little the government has done to promote disability equality in the country. When Parlimentarians and government officers have no qualms with throwing insults at disabled people, they set a bad precedent to society at large on how disabled people should be treated. Thankfully, people like these are a minority. Such attitudes are still disconcerting nonetheless.

If the government is serious in protecting the rights and dignity of disabled people in Malaysia, they should come out with an anti-discrimination law. The Persons with Disabilities Act 2008 does nothing to that effect. Disabled people in Malaysia still face attitudinal and environmental barriers in every aspect of their lives.

The Star Online

Published: Friday January 15, 2010 MYT 11:38:00 AM
Updated: Friday January 15, 2010 MYT 1:36:58 PM

Teoh Beng Hock’s inquest takes a further turn (Update)
By WANI MUTHIAH

SHAH ALAM: The inquest into the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock took a further turn when a hearing on an application to cite a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officer for contempt targeted its counsel instead.

Counsel for the Government Tan Hock Chuan had earlier given the court the Attorney-General’s assurance that no action would be taken against Thai forensic pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand.

He said the A-G was also of the opinion that Dr Pornthip had not leaked any information to Suara Keadilan, which had carried an article “confirming” that Teoh had been murdered.

Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas then said that given the A-G’s opinion, there was no longer any need to proceed with contempt proceedings against Raub Ghani, who had lodged a police report against Dr Pornthip alleging that she had leaked information from the results of the second post-mortem performed on Teoh to “unauthorised” parties.

Raub, 41, who is attached to the Putrajaya MACC investigation unit, had lodged the report at the Shah Alam district police headquarters on Jan 1.

However, the counsel representing Teoh’s family, Karpal Singh argued for contempt proceedings to continue against Raub as going by the A-G’s opinion, it would seem to indicate that the MACC officer had lodged a false police report and thus, should be “duly dealt with”.

MACC counsel Datuk Abdul Razak Musa then stood up to protest Karpal’s continued use of the word “murder” in pertaining to Teoh’s death.

When Karpal, who is in a wheelchair, told Abdul Razak to “sit down”, the latter replied: “I will sit down but you cannot stand up.”

The court was thrown into further chaos when at one point, Gobind Singh Deo called Abdul Razak a “scoundrel” for insulting Karpal Singh’s disability, and wanted contempt proceedings initiated against Abdul Razak.

The court has momentarily stood down for both Karpal and Gobind to refer to grounds to initiate proceedings against Abdul Razak.

Coroner Azmil Muntapha fixed Jan 22 to hear submissions in the contempt proceedings against Raub.

He agreed there were elements of contempt in Abdul Razak’s remarks against Karpal, but only cautioned him.

The Suffering Of Disabled People In Najib’s 1Malaysia

The Star in ‘Promote paralympics’, says Najib (November 20, 2009) reported Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as saying that the marginalisation of disabled people is prevalent.

“The marginalisation of persons with disabilities is prevalent and in many countries there are few sports opportunities available to them,” Najib added.

On a brighter note, he said there had been increasing support for the participation of persons with disabilities over the past 20 years.

In line with the 1Malaysia concept of “People First, Performance Now”, Najib said it was important to provide opportunities for people from all walks of life, regardless of race, culture and religion.

I am glad Najib realises that. I hope he also meant disabled people in Malaysia when he talked about marginalisation. Disabled people in Malaysia is one of the most marginalised groups in the country. Having been a wheelchair user for the past 25 years, I can say with certainty that the government is still neglecting the needs of disabled people after all these years, irrespective of what Najib said in his opening speech at the 14th International Paralym­pic Committee (IPC) Conference and General Assembly on Thursday.

Not every disabled person can be a paralympian. Neither do many want to be when our struggles with bread and butter issues are never ending. We cannot go to school to get an education. We cannot get gainful employment. We cannot even move around conveniently. Many disabled people have poor quality of life. Many are living in poverty. They have to depend on their family for sustenance and care. Opportunity is a foreign word to them. Excelling in sports is the least of our worries when we have so many more pressing matters to worry about.

Every now and then, the government will promise to resolve the problems of inaccessibility in the built environment and public transport. All these are just empty talk. Nothing has been done to address these issues seriously. Look at the street environment around you. Are these places safe for blind people and wheelchair users to traverse? Look at RapidKL. Three years after they promised to make their buses accessible, disabled people still cannot board the buses. Likewise Rapid Penang.

Disabled people have met with former Parlimentary Secretary of the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun who is now the Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, Deputy Minister of Finance Datuk Seri Dr. Ng Yen Yen who later became the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development and now the Minister of Tourism, former Minister of Transport Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy and current Minister of Transport Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat. Even the Prime Minister’s wife Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor mentioned about the plight of disabled people and public transport.

There were promises. There were excuses. And then there were more promises. Still, nothing happened. Disabled people advocating for accessible public transport and barrier-free environment is still being given the runaround. Dear Datuk Seri Najib, please show us where the increasing support for our participation in society is. My disabled friends and I still feel very neglected.

The Star Online
News
Home > News > Nation

Friday November 20, 2009
‘Promote paralympics’, says Najib

KUALA LUMPUR: Voluntary organisations, the corporate sector and disabled athletes should work together to promote the paralympic movement, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said Malaysian sports leaders were playing significant roles in the Asean, Asian and world paralympic movement.
Sticking together: Hong Kong athlete Yu Chui Yee accompanying Sidkova Marketa from the Czech Republic at the opening of the 14th International Paralympic Committee general assembly and conference in Kuala Lumpur Thursday.

“This is in recognition of Malaysia’s capabilities in championing the paralympic movement,” he said.

Asked whether Malaysia would host the Paralympic Games, he said that if the country were to do so, it would have to be chosen for the main Olympic Games, “which is a tall order”.

“It will not happen in the foreseeable future. You have to be a strong sports nation, make an impact and be a force to be reckoned with at the global level to be considered,” he said at the opening of the 14th International Paralym­pic Committee general assembly and conference here yesterday.

The United Nations estimates that there are about 500 million persons with disabilities in the world, the majority in developing countries, he said.

“The marginalisation of persons with disabilities is prevalent and in many countries there are few sports opportunities available to them,” Najib added.

On a brighter note, he said there had been increasing support for the participation of persons with disabilities over the past 20 years.

In line with the 1Malaysia concept of “People First, Performance Now”, Najib said it was important to provide opportunities for people from all walks of life, regardless of race, culture and religion.

Welfare Dept hiring enough disabled people: The Star – July 29, 2009

News
Home > News > Nation

Wednesday July 29, 2009
Welfare Dept hiring enough disabled people

kUALA LUMPUR: Only the Welfare Department in the public sector has managed to achieve the 1% quota of jobs set aside for the disabled.

Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Maznah Mazlan said that 1.8% of the Welfare Department’s staff were disabled people.

“The Government is already hiring people with disabilities but the public sector has yet to fulfil the 1% quota.

“Other departments need to increase employment of people with disabilities,” she told reporters after launching a job placement campaign for the blind and visibly impaired at the Malaysian Association for the Blind here yesterday.

Maznah said the ministry would also propose to the Government for the existing 1% quota of jobs for the disabled to be extended to the private sector.

She said this year, the ministry had managed to find jobs for 7,482 disabled people, 788 of whom were blind and visually impaired.

“That is about 70% of the 10,699 disabled people who have registered to find jobs with the ministry,” she said, adding however that there was still room for improvement.

Maznah said the ministry was also working on making its employment portal www.jobsmalaysia.gov.my more user-friendly to the disabled.