The Star News, Tuesday August 4, 2009
THE Government has no plans to make registration with the Welfare Department compulsory for disabled people, Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said.
She said this was because persons with disabilities must be given informed choice.
“As of March 2009, 256,364 disabled people were registered with the department and the actual figure is expected to be significantly higher,” she said at the National Advocacy and Awareness Disability Campaign in Petaling Jaya recently.
However, she said, it was necessary to create awareness among persons with disabilities and their families on the importance of registration and to encourage them to register themselves.
“Persons with disabilities encounter a myriad of physical and social barriers and challenges that impede their participation in society. The society’s attitude, prejudices, beliefs and ignorance create obstacles to inclusion,” she said.
She said the lack of accommodation in employment, education and transportation also presented a serious challenge.
“As a result, persons with disabilities often do not have access to the same opportunities as others, have higher rates of unemployment, live in poverty and are more likely to be socially isolated,” she said.
However, she said Malaysia had put in place the National Policy on Persons with Disabilities to enhance their well-being and ensure that they enjoyed equal rights and full participation in the society.