Provide job opportunities for disabled, help them out of poverty – Ras Adiba


KUALA LUMPUR – As the country is battling the COVID-19 pandemic, the government and corporate sector have been urged to provide employment opportunities for persons with disabilities (PwDs), especially those from the B40.

Senator Datuk Ras Adiba Radzi (picture) said if all parties provide job opportunities for the disabled to serve in their respective sectors, it could increase the percentage of recruitment involving the group and help them out of poverty.

“But we do not do this alone. We all have to work together. All ministries as well as the corporate sector must work together to provide job opportunities for the disabled.

“How to provide this opportunity? We need to hold public service announcements, awareness campaigns on the disabled, on job opportunities, as done by the Ministry of Human Resources and the Social Welfare Department (JKM)’s Disabled Development Department.

“We at the OKU Sentral portal are also trying to spread the word to other disabled friends about the job opportunities. But how can we provide the opportunities if we are reluctant to give (the opportunities) for disabled,” she said in the ‘Buletin Awani’ special edition discussing the topic of “Golongan OKU Dihimpit Kemiskinan” (Disabled Group Squeezed by Poverty) yesterday.

Ras Adiba, who is the president of OKU Sentral, said, for example, sometimes some companies were reluctant to offer a job when they saw the individual applied for it was disabled.

She said there were also cases such as application forms provided by employers were not disabled-friendly to those who are visually impaired or the form was too complicated and too much information that people with autism, disability or ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder) could not understand.

“Hence, all this actually goes back to the awareness of the needs of the disabled, how to support them and provide opportunities. If we do not provide employment opportunity for the disabled then this problem will not be solved,” she said.

In the meantime, she also suggested that relevant authorities such as the Social Security Organisation (Socso) and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to provide social security networks, especially for households led by the disabled.

Apart from that, the government is also asked to expand the Welfare Department’s financial assistance scheme to single parents and the disabled, especially those living in low cost flats in the city as the existing assistance is hardly enough to support their families.

According to a recent United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)’s Families on the Edge report, income level among households led by the disabled are now 36 per cent lower than at the end of 2019, and the poverty rate among the study samples was also higher, at 55 per cent.

The report also found that 83 per cent of households led by disabled have no savings and one in two (55 per cent) of them expected that their financial situation to worsen in the next six months.