SUBANG JAYA, AUGUST 24 2019: MALAYSIANS should take the cue from the disabled community who waste no time on racial or divisive matters, Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Hannah Yeoh said today.
“Disability draws the special needs (OKU) community together irrespective of race or religion. They draw strength from one another and they depend on each other to survive.”
“They do not waste time arguing on things which are divisive because it is not relevant to them,” she said at the launch of Break the Stigma on Disability Walk in Subang Jaya.
The walk was attended by more than 300 residents many of whom are OKU or suffer from disabilities.
Hannah said the country now had 549,554 persons with disabilities registered with the Social Welfare Department as of June this year. Selangor is the State with the highest number of disabled persons standing at 87,691, followed by Johor (63,794) and Perak (50,428).
“Race is the last thing the OKU community thinks about. In fact race is not something that even pops up in their mind. That’s because the OKU community knows what is really important and they focus on it.”
“When they are struggling with access going into a shop or travelling, they do not have time to think what their own skin colour is or the colour of skin of who comes to help them,” she said.
Hannah said this was something society needed to learn from the OKU community.
She said society had too much time on their hands and argued over things that do not matter at all.
Hannah also urged local authorities to ensure that the infrastructure and facilities in neighbourhoods are designed to be disabled friendly i.e. incorporating ramps to facilitate wheelchair access.
She said there was a need to remove barriers to access, to enable persons with disabilities to live an inclusive life.
“In Malaysia, the people speak many languages, English, Malay, Chinese etc. We encourage the learning of different languages.”
“We should also encourage more people to take up “sign language” as it will help to bridge the communications gap with persons with speech disability. This will also remove the stigma that sign language is only limited to persons with disabilities,” she added.