The Star News : Sunday April 19, 2009
PETALING JAYA: Mental patients can now enjoy the same welfare benefits as those provided for the disabled people under the Women, Family and Community Develop-ment Ministry.
Deputy Minister Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said this could be done by adding mental patients as recipients of the benefits under the disabled people category.
Previously, the ministry only classified six groups of people under the category, including the blind, mute, deaf and physically disabled.
However, she said mental patients would have to meet the requirements set by the ministry.
She said successful applicants earning RM1,200 and below would get a monthly allowance of RM300 from the Social Welfare Department while those unemployed would get RM150.
She said the smaller sum of allowance was to encourage the disabled people to work and be independent.
She said the ministry felt that mental patients should also be taken care of as, currently, those suffering from minor psychological problems were not accepted by hospitals and left wondering on the streets.
“We also want to ease the burden of families of mental illness patients,’’ she said after launching a telematch for disabled people here yesterday.
The event was organised in conjunction with the “Be An Angel” voluntary programme organised by Beautiful Gate Foundation For The Disabled.
Chew said the ministry would also ensure that new development, especially in public areas, complied with the ruling to have disabled-friendly facilities.
“We want them to feel that they are part of society and face no problems in moving around,’’ she said.
She also said local councils should be responsible in looking into the needs of the disabled.