Persons with disabilities want action against those who discriminate

KUALA LUMPUR: The Society of the Orthopaedically Handicapped Malaysia has urged the government to amend the Persons With Disabilities Act (PWDA) 2008 by punishing those who discriminate them.

Its president, Shahidon Hanafiah said discrimination has made it difficult for persons with disabilities to gain employment and pursue education.

"Many employers, especially those in the private sector don't want to employ persons with disabilities.

"Some companies choose to sack persons with disabilities when restructuring saying that they are not productive," he said today.

Shahidon was commenting on the proposal by the Human Rights Commission Malaysia (Suhakam) that the government amend PWDA to punish offenders.

Suhakam acting chairman Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee said the PWDA should be amended as persons with disabilities had been denied education and employment.

He said those who did not recognise the rights of persons with disabilities to education and employment could be hauled up for failing to comply with PWDA.

Meanwhile, the Society for the Advancement of the Blind president Jaafar Md Isa said PWDA should be improved by providing punishment to the offenders.

"This is to protect the rights of persons with disabilities who face discrimination by certain parties.

"Complaints made by persons with disabilities fell on deaf ears as PWDA does not state the type of punishment that should be imposed," he added.

Malaysian Federation of the Deaf executive director Mohamad Sazali Shaari urged the government and the private sector to understand the educational needs of persons with disabilities.

He said this was necessary as certain parties still did not understand the Persons With Disabilities Act 2008.

"For example, we still use Bahasa Melayu sign language whereas we must use national sign language as stated by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)." – Bernama