Budget 2024: Ras Adiba gives her take on OKU-focused policies

13 Oct 2023 07:32pm
Datuk Ras Adiba Mohd Radzi (BERNAMA PHOTO)
Datuk Ras Adiba Mohd Radzi (BERNAMA PHOTO)

SHAH ALAM - OKU Sentral Association president Datuk Ras Adiba Mohd Radzi urged the government to prioritise permanent employment and amend the Persons with Disabilities (OKU) Act 2008 to include in enforcement elements.

Ras Adiba also urged the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry to also include mandatory reporting for OKU cases to prevent any OKU from falling through the system.

“I fully support the provision of an allowance increase for OKU trainees in the Community Rehabilitation Programme for Persons with Disabilities to RM300 per month, an increase from RM150.

“This announcement will certainly benefit all OKU trainees who consistently provide the best service to the OKU community. I also hope that the government allocates funds for the development and improvement of registered Community-Based Rehabilitation Centers (PDK) in Malaysia,” she told Sinar Daily today after the tabling of Budget 2024.

Aside from that, Ras Adiba said the implementation of the Madani Training Programme that includes training and skills enhancement for OKU and senior citizens.

“The Social Security Organisation will provide a special incentive of RM1,500 per month for six months to employ vulnerable groups.

“Vulnerable groups such as OKU face significant challenges in securing decent, quality employment. This effort will help OKU obtain employment commensurate with their qualifications and, in turn, reduce youth unemployment rates.

“The government should find ways to ensure that no OKU is left behind in the job market, and must ensure that they receive decent wages,” she said.

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Ras Adiba also praised the government’s effort to continue employing vulnerable groups through the MYFutureJobs job matching program and the Malaysia Short-term Employment Programme (MySTEP).

“Through these initiatives, vulnerable groups will be offered contractual positions with an allowance of 1,500 ringgit for six months in various ministries, government-linked investment companies (GLICs), government-linked companies (GLCs), and government strategic partners.

“I urge the government to prioritise permanent employment security because the MySTEP initiative only addresses the short-term problems of the OKU community.

“The issue of job security for OKU should be discussed in the National Employment Council, involving OKU experts,” she said.

Commenting further, she added that this budget also includes several significant measures related to welfare and well-being.

“An allocation of RM1.2 billion is provided for various forms of assistance, including care for chronically abandoned OKU, disabled individuals unable to work, and allowances for disabled workers.

“The government reviewed the overall amount of assistance provided to the OKU community. This is because the existing assistance is certainly insufficient to support their daily living due to the rising cost of living," she said.

She added that the community-based education for OKU was also a key element outlined in the OKU Action Plan 2016-2023.

She agreed that an allocation of RM30 million has been provided to supply special education support equipment and provide OKU-friendly facilities.

Ras Adiba also urged the government to strengthen the Zero Reject Policy, which is also in line with the United Nations' requirements through the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

“The government should give serious attention to the development and empowerment of OKU community entrepreneurs. I support the provision of special financing facilities of 50 million ringgit for micro-entrepreneurs with disabilities. I also call on the government to reinstate the OKU 1 Business 1 Scheme to empower OKU in the business sector,” she said.

Commenting further, the government is implementing the Swim Skills Sports Programme for children, OKU, and senior citizens from less privileged families.

“This initiative is significant in producing more skilled para-athletes. The government should consider establishing Para Sports Schools to serve as training grounds and talent development hubs for young OKU athletes in the sports field.

“I hope the government continues to protect the well-being and empower OKU to achieve self-sufficiency,” she said.