Disabled job applicants deserve priority

Priority should be accorded to disabled job applicants in Sarawak to ensure effective implementation of the current
government policy on the one per cent quota of job opportunities for disabled persons in the public sector.

Sarawak Cheshire Home president Ang Lai Soon said today the issue must be addressed immediately, especially since there were limited job opportunities available for them.

“It is important to ensure they can earn a decent income on their own and be more independent in their daily lives, but in practice, it is difficult for a disabled person to compete for limited job opportunities in the open labour market with other ‘normal’ people,” he said at the Sarawak Cheshire Home’s biannual general meeting, here.

At present, there are 73 residents at the home who received federal and state government grants totalling RM314,976 and public donations of RM147,903 in 2009.

Similarly, he said, many disabled children were deprived of the opportunity to pursue even basic education due to various physical, attitudinal and other obstacles in the society despite the governnment’s policy to provide education
for all.

Two of the Cheshire Home residents are studying at the SK Laksamana Special School and Association For The Welfare Of Intelectually Disabled Children of Sarawak (Perkata) Special School.

Ang said the relevant authorities also needed to identify specific primary and secondary schools in certain areas in the state to be provided with proper and accessible facilities for students who are physically disabled, including those on wheelchairs.

The government should provide teaching assistants during school hours to assist those students who are disabled, who are only provided for blind students in specific schools such as SMK Batu Lintang here, he said.

He said many disabled children with severe mobility problems could not be placed in normal schools which lacked accessible toilets and other facilities for disabled persons, as parents cannot be present throughout
schooling hours.

“As a person who has been fully involved in voluntary and charity work since completing my studies, I’m quite aware of the social and financial problems, difficulties and sufferings of not only disabled members of the community but also the old, poor, sick, deprived, disadvantaged as well as those who have been ostracised, discriminated and marginalised,” he said of his life-long commitment to voluntary work.

– Bernama