Political party manifestos that indicate disability inclusiveness and support for OKU

14 Nov 2022 10:51pm

The disability (OKU) community is monitoring very closely the current electoral and political process of the 15th General Elections. We persons with disabilities (15 per cent of the population) and our care partners and professionals account for more than 30 per cent of the Malaysian electorate.

We are looking for, and will support, political parties that make an effort to fully include OKU in Malaysian society. We had earlier clearly outlined our concerns and struggles here.

Our pressing needs are:

1. Realise the rights of persons with disabilities by amending the Persons with Disabilities Act 2008 to give it the scope and powers to enforce these rights;

2. Improve employment inclusion to offer better and wider job opportunities;

3. Improve education inclusion to mainstream, with reasonable accommodation, all children and youth.

We had recommended to politicians and political parties, especially those hoping to be elected as Members of Parliament or State Assemblymen, to heed the views of members of the electorate who are OKU or are associated with OKU.

We are now able to evaluate the outlook of three major political coalitions fielding the largest number of candidates by assessing their political manifestos and action plans for disability inclusiveness. The table below summarizes their plans.

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Of the three, Pakatan Harapan has the most comprehensive set of plans, followed by Perikatan Nasional; both of which have a section dedicated to the OKU. The plans in the Barisan Nasional manifesto are minimal and appear almost as an afterthought.

None of the three coalitions mention the need to amend the Persons with Disabilities Act. Without amendment to give it the scope and powers to enforce the rights of persons with disabilities, any plans and actions of any future government cannot be challenged or questioned.

Pakatan Harapan’s plan to have a “Ministry or Department for the Disabled with a PWD Commissioner” is commendable.

Accessibility for OKU is a critical issue and both Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional mention this, although Pakatan Harapan goes further in including transportation and the need for universal design standards.

Both Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional have plans to improve the education and employment situation of the OKU. However, neither party mentions the importance of mainstreaming the OKU in education from pre-school to university with reasonable accommodation for this to occur

This evaluation shows that some political parties have made the effort to better recognize the needs of the OKU community. This is hopeful and will be taken into consideration by the OKU community electorate in the coming 15th General Elections.

Our hopes for a disability-inclusive Malaysia will not end with the elections. We will monitor the implementation of proposed action plans as well as advocate for missing concerns to be addressed.

We look to GE15 as a major crossroads to improve inclusion as a universal human right for all Malaysians. We ask all Malaysians to “Make the Right Real” for the OKU community. We urge you to support #OKURightsMatter.

Prepared by Datuk Dr Amar-Singh HSS, Yuenwah San, Lai-Thin Ng, Anit Randhawa, Yoon-Loong Wong, Alvin Teoh - OKURightsMatter Team.