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Fatimah: Ensure the disabled have opportunities to participate in life

on 03 Ogos 2010.

By RINTOS MAIL
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Photo by ANDRE OLIVEIRO

 

THE needs of people with disabilities must be taken into consideration whenever development plans are formulated.

Development should be about increasing people’s well being, not confined to certain sections but for all, including the disabled, said Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office Datin Fatimah Abdullah.

She said, to achieve the 1Malaysia spirit, planners, employers, service providers and the general public needed to include the disabled and ensure they had opportunities to participate in life, like their fellow citizens.

“As a relatively young developing nation, we have made great advances in the development aspects, but there a tendency to leave disability issues behind.

Noble endeavour: Fatimah chatting with a disabled participant after the launch of the conference in Kuching.

“Let us take steps with the agenda to create a disabled-friendly environment and make buildings accessible and friendly to disabled people,” she said at the launch of an international conference entitled Perspective on Inclusive Development: Embracing Diversity and Creating Disability-sensitive Communities in Kuching yesterday.

The two-day conference, which ends today, aims to facilitate the establishment of effective sustainable partnerships and collaboration within and across countries to advance inclusive development.

Some 30 papers were presented by representatives of disabled persons organisations, academicians, government officials and policy makers from Malaysia and abroad, including Britain, Japan, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and Australia.

The Faculty of Social Sciences, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, together with the Research Institute and Social Change of Manchester Metropolitan University in Britain, jointly organised the conference.

Fatimah said the conference should serve as a wake-up call to planners, employers, service providers and the general public to change their mindset of excluding the disabled.

She said that social inclusion would be a reality when the able-bodied society changed the environment for people with disabilities to fully participate in community life.

“If we do not make this transformation, we are creating social disability,” she said.

 

Extracted from The Star Online.

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