Guide dogs might not be the solution

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Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi has reason out why using guide dogs to assist blind people in might not be such a great idea in this country.

Responding to a report in The Malay Mail which quoted Land and Public Transport Commission (SPAD) Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar as saying there should be no problem with allowing guide dogs to assist the blind when using public transportation facilities, Abdul Aziz said SPAD’s regulations should not come into conflict with city regulations set by local authorities.

“The local authorities have set very specific rules governing the breeding of dogs, and these rules include premises that do not allow dogs to be left without a capable owner,” he said.

Abdul Aziz also said the guide dogs could prove to be a trouble for the blind.

“What if the dog pees in a bus or in the train? Who will clean up the mess? I fear the other commuters might get angry with the disabled owner,” he said.

When the successful implementation of guide dogs in other Asian countries such as South Korea and Japan was brought up, Abdul Aziz dismissed the cases as not being good comparisons, as the countries mentioned had different ethnic backgrounds.

Under section 8C of the Licensing of Dogs and Kennel Establishment (Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur) By-laws 1991, licensed owners must keep their dogs under proper surveillance within a fenced premise, and leashed and muffled when taken out of the premises. The owner must also take all necessary steps to ensure the dog does not defecate or urinate in a public place, and if it does, the owner should remove the faeces immediately.

Director of the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) Datuk Othman Mustapha also pointed out that touching dogs was considered haram under Islamic law, and therefore it would be inappropriate for the blind to use guide dogs in Malaysia, given the country’s Muslim majority.

“Muslims may accidentally brush against dogs, and dogs and their fur are unclean under Islamic tenets,” he said.

Othman said Muslims were particular about their personal hygiene as it was a fundamental concern in the Islamic religion.

“Islamic beliefs and practices cannot be taken lightly according to personal feelings and reasons,” he said.

“They must be in accordance with teachings of the Quran, Sunnah, Ijma, and Qiyas that are valid.”


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