Ang Lai Soon

KUCHING: The federal and state governments should consider providing residential homes for persons with intellectual disabilities who are orphaned and needing special attention, social activist Datuk Seri Ang Lai Soon said today.

He said the provision of such residential homes was necessary following the increase in the country’s population and growing number of people with these disabilities including autism, Down syndrome and mental retardation.

Ang Lai Soon

“Many of these people (with intellectual disabilities) are not being properly looked after, especially if they come from the lower income group. We must help them,” he told Bernama today.

Ang, who is also the president of Sarawak Cheshire Home, said both the federal and state governments should ensure that the rights of persons with disabilities of all descriptions would continue to be protected.

“It must be streamlined and incorporated into the relevant government policies, laws and development plans and projects, so that persons with disabilities are not left out or marginalised in our society.” he said.

Ang said such a policy and practice were also in line with the Asean Master Plan 2025 on mainstreaming of rights of persons with disabilities in the region, which was approved by the Asean foreign ministers in 2018.

“It appears that this country has the policy, law and national plan of action on rights of persons with disabilities of all descriptions since 2007,” he said.

Ever since the Sarawak Cheshire Home was established back in the 1960s, he said public understanding of the needs of the disabled had grown but efforts to enhance such awareness should continue.

He said prior to the home’s establishment, most people in the state had no idea of what a disabled person was and their needs, so the home proceeded with organising an annual open day.

“The objectives of the open day were to let the public see what we meant by disabled and our work done for the disabled, which naturally would be followed by financial support. We achieved both aims,” he added. – Bernama