Ras Adiba Radzi

KUCHING: A senator has called for an inclusive response to the Covid-19 pandemic from the authorities, which include considerations for the special needs group (OKU).

Senator Ras Adiba Radzi said while the authorities had their hands full in handling the pandemic, some of the decisions made sidelined the welfare of the disabled, who had a difficult time in adjusting to the movement control order (MCO) and the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

“Difficult does not even describe how it was for the OKU, it was really hard; my friends who are blind, they cannot go out and gauge the 1-metre social distancing, so it is very difficult.

“When we go out and see them and send them food, we told them to stay in and they would say ‘if we stay in then we won’t have food’,” said Ras Adiba who is also the senate’s OKU representative in an interview with Astro Awani on Tuesday night.

She said, while the group might also get easily infected by Covid-19, they needed the assistance to get them through the MCO to obtain treatments.

“There are those who are bedridden requiring assistances from family, friends and they come across to us and because they can’t travel out, they need police permit etc,” she said.

Ras Adiba said, while everyone was still adjusting to the new norm following Covid-19, the authorities should seek the opinion of the group prior to arriving at decisions.

“Everyone was busy, they need to handle persons with disabilities better in situations like this. First and foremost, when they make decisions, they need to have us on board.

“When people said, ‘we try our best to work with the parties involved’, we need to have more than this.

“I wish we have a minister who is there to make decisions with executive power but we didn’t have that, so until we have a minister who is a disabled, only then people will take the group seriously,” she said.