32,985 per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties reg­is­tered in Sabah

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - HOME -

KOTA KINABALU: Per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties (OKU) should be reg­is­tered so bet­ter ser­vices and ameni­ties could be pro­vided on top of OKU-friendly pro­grammes.

Health and Peo­ple’s Well­be­ing Min­is­ter Datuk Stephen Wong urged par­ents to reg­is­ter OKU fam­ily mem­bers so that the gov­ern­ment as well as non­govern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions (NGOs) and bod­ies could pro­vide bet­ter and more rel­e­vant ex­pe­ri­ences.

Ac­cord­ing to Sabah So­cial Wel­fare De­part­ment (JPKA) records as of Oc­to­ber 2018, there are 32,985 reg­is­tered OKU through­out Sabah.

“When di­vided into seven OKU cat­e­gories, they com­prise 2,556 with hear­ing dis­abil­ity, 2,902 with vi­sion im­pair­ment, 290 with speech im­ped­i­ment, 9,099 with phys­i­cal dis­abil­ity, 13,420 with learn­ing dis­abil­ity, 2,541 with men­tal dis­abil­ity and 1,909 oth­ers.

“Reg­is­tra­tion of OKU is im­por­tant so that the gov­ern­ment is able to iden­tify the num­ber of dis­abled per­sons ac­cord­ing to cat­e­gory.

“This would help us bet­ter or­gan­ise re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­grammes, train­ing and ed­u­ca­tion that is best suited to each dis­abil­ity, as well as to pro­vide rel­e­vant ser­vices and ameni­ties,” he said, at the Statelevel In­clu­sive Car­ni­val for All. His speech was de­liv­ered by Luyang as­sem­bly­man Gin­ger Phoong.

UNICEF Malaysia deputy rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ra­doslaw Rze­hak added that as of June 2017, the De­part­ment of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties recorded 431,000 peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties.

“This is just 1.3 per cent of the Malaysian pop­u­la­tion. Ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion, this per­cent­age should be closer to 15 per cent, in line with the rate of dis­abil­ity found in the global pop­u­la­tion.

“This sug­gests that reg­is­tra­tion rates in Malaysia are very low, partly at­trib­uted to the fear of stigma and dis­crim­i­na­tion which comes with la­belling a child as hav­ing a dis­abil­ity.

“But we have now en­tered the era of a New Malaysia which needs to also be an In­clu­sive Malaysia.

“Let’s stop la­belling chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties as ‘spe­cial’ and seg­re­gat­ing them from so­ci­ety. Let’s start in­clud­ing them in ev­ery­thing we do. We need to make rea­son­able ac­com­mo­da­tions so they can par­tic­i­pate fully.

“In an in­clu­sive Sabah, chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties should not be seen as dif­fer­ent or ‘spe­cial.’ They should be in­cluded in main­stream schools, have ac­cess to so­cial ser­vices and health­care. They should par­tic­i­pate equally in so­cial, en­ter­tain­ment and sport­ing events,” he said.

Rze­hak fur­ther said the tough­est bar­ri­ers in achiev­ing an in­clu­sive en­vi­ron­ment are peo­ple’s minds and hearts, as 43 per cent of peo­ple still think it is dis­rup­tive for their chil­dren to be in the same school as chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties.

How­ever, with these ob­sta­cles re­moved, chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties have ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to grow up healthy, free from harm and ed­u­cated so they can reach their full po­ten­tial.

“It is not only the cor­rect thing to do – it is their fun­da­men­tal right. That way, they can be fully func­tion­ing mem­bers of so­ci­ety. They can con­trib­ute, and be a ben­e­fit to them­selves, their fam­i­lies, their com­mu­nity, and their coun­try,” he said.

The car­ni­val, or­gan­ised by JPKA in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Sabah Coun­cil of So­cial Ser­vices (MPMS), Sabah Art Gallery, UNICEF and lo­cal civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions, aims to show­case abil­ity, raise aware­ness on build­ing a more in­clu­sive so­ci­ety and em­power chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties and their par­ents by de­vel­op­ing self-con­fi­dence and pride.

The In­clu­sive Car­ni­val for All in Kota Kinabalu is the first of a se­ries of in­clu­sive events to be repli­cated through­out the state. Next tar­geted lo­ca­tions are Kota Marudu, San­dakan and Keningau in 2019.

Phoong (left) pre­sent­ing a cer­tifi­cate of ap­pre­ci­a­tion to a par­tic­i­pant of the In­clu­sive Car­ni­val for All.

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