KUCHING: Malaysian Sign Language (BIM) should be taught and exposed to every level of society to improve communications with the deaf and mute.
Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development Assistant Minister II Mohammad Razi Sitam said that learning sign language should start from early childhood education.
“This should be taught to children as early as three years old, thus promoting the importance of BIM so that everyone can master the language in the future.
“When our people know sign language, relations with the deaf community can be strengthened as well as understanding each other through such communication,” Razi said.
He said this at a press conference after officiating at the closing ceremony of Deaf Empowerment Workshop 2022 at a hotel here on Sunday (Feb 20).
Some 50 representatives from over 20 associations and government agencies attended the three-day workshop, from Feb 18 to 20.
The participants were from Sarawak Deaf Sports Association (SSDeaf), Persatuan Seni dan Budaya Pekak Sarawak, Ministry of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development (KWKPK), Malaysian Sign Language and Deaf Studies Association (MyBIM), Sarawak Deaf Youth Association (SWDY), Pusat Pemulihan Samarahan (PPS) as well as participants from outside Sarawak.
According to Sarawak Welfare Department (JKMS) director Noriah Ahmad, the workshop was aimed at empowering non-governmental organisations (NGO) and agencies to communicate effectively and efficiently especially when dealing with the deaf communities.
“We also empower agencies and NGOs involved to achieve their goals to reach out to these special people.
“That is why we emphasise on the use of BIM in our society. The deaf communities are not people with disabilities (PwD) but they have different ways to communicate using the sign language,” said Noriah.
She also suggested to have workshop sessions involving the media for them to learn BIM to better communicate and understand the deaf communities.
“We know BIM is the solution to solve communication problems with them. If we can interact using sign language, we become more understanding of each other,” she asserted.