KUALA LUMPUR: The National People’s Well-Being and Economic Recovery Package (Pemulih) announced by the government recently has offered a ray of hope to people from all walks of life including Persons with Disabilities (PwD), which is proof that the disabled are not sidelined.

OKU Sentral president, Senator Datuk Ras Adiba Radzi (pix) said she was grateful for the initiative under Pemulih, adding that the PwDs were also badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the assistance was something to look forward to.

“For instance, there are disabled people interested in doing business but do not have the capital and it is difficult for them to obtain loans, so the JITU programme gives us a ray of hope,“ she said today.

The government had agreed to provide basic business capital assistance and guide the PwDs and the homeless in starting a business under Pemulih’s Program Jaringan Inisiatif Umum (JITU).

On Penjana Kerjaya 3.0 initiative, Ras Adiba said the salary amounting to RM1,200 per month as well as the PwD workers’ allowance to some extent would help the disabled to continue their livelihoods and help prevent the onset of depression and mental illness among them.

She also called on all parties especially the private and corporate sectors to give the PwDs a chance to join the community and to allow them to work.

Ras Adiba also urged members of the disabled community to contact the Social Welfare Department (JKM), especially the Disabled Development Department (JPOKU) and the Ministry of Finance to get more information on the assistance provided under Pemulih.

Meanwhile, Damai Disabled Persons Association Malaysia president, V. Murugeswaran applauded the government’s move to provide the RM500 cash assistance initiative to the disabled who have lost their jobs or unemployed for three months.

“Previously, only some PwDs were eligible to receive assistance, but with the current situation of the pandemic, things are not the same anymore. Some of the PwDs under the M40 segment have been laid off, so they also need help,” he said, adding the JITU initiative should be continued as it would help the disabled to be independent.

Adilah Najwa Samsudin, 24 from Changloon, Kedah, said she would use the RM1500 cash aid to sustain her small traditional cakes business as well as to buy daily necessities.

“I am also interested in joining JITU and hope to expand my business via the programme because now I can only make RM10 a day selling ‘kuih’,” she said.

Meanwhile, a PhD student, Muhamad Nadhir Abdul Nasir, 30, said while the assistance would ease their burden, it should also be distributed in a targeted manner.

“The RM500 monthly cash aid will be enough for those living in rural areas, but for those in the city and have chronic illnesses, the amount may have to be increased,” he said.

He also wished that more drive-thru vaccination centres would be set up outside the Klang Valley and in rural areas to facilitate the Covid-19 vaccination process for the PwDs.

“I am aware of the RM30 subsidy provided to the disabled and the elderly to pay for their taxi or e-hailing fares to go to the vaccination centres, but e-hailing services are scarce in rural areas, so more vaccination centres should be set up in the rural areas,” he added. — Bernama