Human Resources Ministry studying vocal health policy proposal - Mustapha

20 May 2023 02:18pm
Human Resources Deputy Minister Mustapha Sakmud - FILE PIX
Human Resources Deputy Minister Mustapha Sakmud - FILE PIX

BANGI - The Human Resources Ministry will examine the initial proposal to draft a policy on vocal health and larynx (voice box) safety, to protect professionals who use their voices for careers such as actors, singers, educators and speakers.

Its Deputy Minister Mustapha Sakmud said that thus far, there is no specific protection policy or scheme for the voice and professions that involve the voice, because most protection policies are only limited to the physical body.

"There are proposals from several parties, including the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and the National Academy of Arts, Culture and Heritage (Aswara), to study a specific protection policy which can be used under the Social Security Organisation (Socso) should anything happen to our voices.

"For example, in the United States, this matter (voice protection scheme or policy) is common, but in Malaysia, it is still new, so this is something we will discuss and see if it is suitable to be implemented here,” he said today.

He said this to reporters after attending the Suara Nadi Kehidupan programme, held in conjunction with World Voice Day 2023 celebrations, jointly organised by UKM, Aswara and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh).

Earlier, Mustapha, in his speech, said that the results of a study conducted by Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) on primary school teachers in the Klang Valley, found that 78 per cent of them experience vocal discomfort at least once a year.

He said employees with voice-related problems are also associated with significant absenteeism issues, lower quality of life and a higher level of anxiety.

"I understand that at Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz UKM, about 30 per cent of patients who are referred to speech therapists for treatment are professional voice users, that is, these are those who rely on voice as a source of income.

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"Hence, the ministry sees this issue as very significant, and will help the parties involved to find a way to protect voice professionals, who are also an important group of workers for the progress of the country,” he said.

Mustapha said the ministry and its agencies, including Niosh and Socso, will examine the issue comprehensively in order to find a comprehensive solution to guarantee the welfare of workers who depend on voice.

He said that these two agencies are able to help the parties involved to conduct research, develop training modules and provide protection plans for voice professionals.

"While we wait for a comprehensive development and protection plan to be drafted for these voice professionals, it is important that we take the right steps to protect vocal health.

"At the same time, we need to seek professional help when dealing with problems related to the voice box, to help prevent serious damage and ensure faster recovery,” he said. - BERNAMA