Staggering 88% of disabled persons not registered

19 Aug 2020 / 17:10 H.

PETALING JAYA: Only about 11.9% of persons with disabilities (OKU) in the country are registered with the government and hold an OKU card.

Senator Ras Adiba Radzi said this is based on estimates by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that about 15% of the world’s population lives with some form of disability.

“If we use that figure, that means there are about 4.7 million OKU people here. However, only about 560,000 of them are officially registered with the Social Welfare Department.

“My mission as a senator is to go to the ground and get more disabled persons to register, especially those in the rural areas,” she told reporters after officiating the Embrace Autism exhibition, here, today.

The programme, which is open to the public at Intermark Mall, is aimed at bridging the gap between individuals with autism and the general public through awareness, education and empowerment.

Ras Adiba, who is the co-founder of non-governmental organisation OKU Sentral, said the reason that many disabled people did not register themselves was because some were embarrassed to do so and due to the stigma of the community.

She said it is for this very reason that it is pertinent for the public to be given better exposure and understanding of the community.

“Which is why I have suggested that lessons on disabilities be taught in school, perhaps as early as pre-schools. This is so that fellow students can learn more about their friends with autism, or who are deaf or blind, among others.

“This way, the students will be able to accept and understand the disabled children better,” she said.

Ras Adiba said it was unfortunate that OKUs in the country are still being treated as “adopted children”, with many facilities still lacking for this community and the mistreatment they face.

“If you go to some places, you will see that ramps meant for OKU are not really OKU-friendly. Normal people also always take up our parking spaces, and some OKU toilets are converted into stores.

“Disabled people in Malaysia have yet to feel the true meaning of independence. They feel like they are being treated as adopted children. It’s not because the government is not helping, but because of the mentality of many among the public,” she said.

Ras Adiba, who is a first term Senator, said it was also vital that OKUs register themselves with the government as it allows them to receive various aid, including financial assistance and job opportunities.

Asked on what she plans to bring to the Dewan Negara when it sits next month, Ras Adiba said: “I have a task force set up to help me. We will be tabling and presenting a lot of things pertaining to this community. Our voices have to be heard.”

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