KUCHING: People with disabilities (OKU) will be given the same opportunities as others in the ‘inclusive society’ concept enshrined in Gabungan Parti Sarawak’s (GPS) manifesto, said Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah.
In stating this the Welfare, Community Well-being, Women, Family and Childhood Development (KWKPK) Minister said an inclusive society encompasses togetherness regardless of status, race, religion and gender, with everyone getting the same rights in every field.
“It is about giving chances. At the same time, we will ensure that our OKUs are empowered as early as possible. From birth, they should be given the right kind of screening, diagnosis, intervention, rehabilitation, education, training, employment along with social and welfare care.
“As this matter cannot be done in a partisan manner, both the OKUs and those who are involved in policy-making and enforcing have to be on board, only then there will be a meeting point.
“This meeting point in particular is to look at the gaps, needs and the shortcomings that we have at the moment,” she said during the closing ceremony of a people of disabilities (OKU) Empowerment Workshop at Merdeka Palace Hotel on Sunday (Jan 23).
Meanwhile, she noted that as the emphasis of the State Social Welfare Department (JKM) is OKU empowerment, it will look at the whole range – macro and micro – and listen to the voices of the OKU through the associations.
“Among the proposals that have been voiced are the accessibility for the OKUs and employment. Having OKU-friendly structures such as traffic lights that have countdown sounds will greatly help their mobility to move anywhere such as to work, school, hospital, training place and so on.
“As for employability, unlike in the peninsula, Sarawak does not have a vocational school for the OKU, hence, we will be establishing a Special Needs Community Centre (SNCC) for them to get their training,” she said.
Fatimah pointed out that the OKU should not have blanket training as each of them has a different spectrum of disabilities and shortcomings.
“That is why the training given in the SNCC will be different and will be based on their interests and abilities,” she added.