We at MSGA would like to use our positions and platform to better represent the community - to promote awareness and push for changes so that they can have better livelihoods in the future. Though we are still a long way to go, these small steps will impact the final result.
The people with disabilities (PWDs) community tends to be underrepresented in society in multitudinous aspects. Time and time again, it has been observed that there are lacking initiatives and efforts to allow for the community to have better and equal opportunities as given to those who are not disabled. To reflect this issue, only 560,000 out of 4.7 million disabled people benefit from having an OKU card, which serves to provide them with security and support in terms of allowance, employment opportunity, assistive aids and many more.
One primary cause for this is the lack of inclusive, accessible policy for people with disabilities to register for an OKU card. That, by itself, is already a huge problem that is not resolved. Though the current People With Disabilities Act 2008 has been enacted, society at large still does not practice nor adopt the Act to its fullest. When it comes to infrastructure, buildings are not designed with PWDs in mind. This includes having no wheelchair ramps, lack of Braille signs to enable blind people to read, and no sign language provisions made. Turning to employability prospects, we’re still following the 1% PWD Employment policy, which means that opportunities for them are strictly limited.
On a similar spectrum, the cases of mental health problems are gravely rising in the Malaysian context. When the COVID-19 outbreak happened and lockdowns were implemented, more people across all demographics suffered from mental health issues including, but not limited to, depression, anxiety, trauma and mental abuse.
I’m in no position to speak on behalf of the PWD community, but we at MSGA would like to use our positions and platform to better represent the community - to promote awareness and push for changes so that they can have better livelihoods in the future. Though we are still a long way to go, these small steps will impact the final result.
Project Manager of PWD: Kita Semua Sama Campaign
Assistant Vice President of Advocacy 19/20
In line with our infographics, our podcasts for the PWD campaign continued to explore themes surrounding three specific groups of people within the community.
In September, we interviewed Mr Murugeswaran, the President of DAMAI, and discussed the current status quo of people with disabilities in Malaysia. Given the hit of the pandemic earlier this year, the community faced larger challenges than they have ever faced before, according to Mr Muru. On the same topic, existing policies and Acts don’t provide enough support and provision to allow for people with disabilities to have a great livelihood.
In October, we looked into the government's initiatives towards people with mental health problems with Dr Ann, in conjunction with World Mental Health Day. She is a public health physician but she’s holding the position of Sector Head of Mental Health, Substance Abuse & Violence Injury Prevention (MeSVIPP) in the Disease Control Division for the Ministry of Health Malaysia. In essence, She gave us an insight on what she does on a day-to-day basis with her work within a government agency by focusing on planning and executing programs on mental health for the public. There’s a surprise towards the end of the podcast, be sure to check it out!
In December, together with Moses Choo from the National Council for The Blind Malaysia (NCBM), we shedded lights on the community of people with impaired sensories, particularly people who are visually-impaired. Moses is the Executive Director for NCBM. Looking into freedom of mobility, COVID-19 and digitalisation, we were given inputs further about how people who are blind or partially blind live and/or struggle on a daily basis due to lack of facilities and accessibilities to help them.
You can tune in to these podcasts on Spotify, Anchor, and Apple Podcast at BICARA by MSGA.
For the first time, we organised a sign language class in collaboration with YMCA KL to provide a basic understanding and a space to practice communicating with those who are deaf, have trouble hearing or mute.
Following our initiatives focusing on mental health awareness, we have conducted a survey to gauge the perceptions of Malaysians, locally and globally. The main aim was to determine their level of understanding and awareness on mental health in general and government’s initiatives and provisions to alleviate the rising cases of mental health problems.