Disabled activists say Pakatan govt worse than BN at dealing with their issues

(The Star) – The Pakatan Harapan administration is worse at dealing with issues concerning people with disabilities, compared with Barisan Nasional, says several activists.

Activist Anthony Thanasayan said since Pakatan took over the government last year, it had yet to engage with disabled groups and requests to meet the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry (KPWKM) have not been entertained.

“We have tried to meet with the minister (Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail) and her deputy (Hannah Yeoh) and we continue to be ignored.

“Today, we are here to protest and meet with them, but none are willing to come and see us, even though we have notified them earlier that we would be coming.

He added that both Dr Wan Azizah and Yeoh should make a public apology to the disabled community for not meeting them.

“To come all the way to Putrajaya is not an easy task for people with disabilities like us,” he said.

Anthony, who is president of the Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association (Petpositive), and about 20 other disabled activists, staged a protest outside the ministry here on Thursday (May 30).

The group, all wheelchair-bound, held up placards with quotes such as “We the disabled suffer from your attitude, not our disabilities!” and “PH begged for votes from the disabled, now we have to beg to see you!”

G. Francis Siva, the president of the Independent Living and Training Centre Malaysia, held up a placard with photos of Dr Wan Azizah and Yeoh and a caption that said “Report Card KPWKM – XXX”.

Francis read out several demands in a memorandum, which was later handed over to officials of the ministry who came out to meet the protesters.

“The National Council for Persons with Disabilities should have grassroots members such as us. We don’t need academicians in the council. We are the ones who understand the plight of the disabled and we should be listened to,” said Francis.

He also proposed that the disabled be given a minimum RM500 aid to help with their welfare.

Another proposal is for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to be enforced at all levels of the government.

“The CRPD is an international convention of which Malaysia is a signatory. The country is obliged to implement it,” said Anthony.