SEPANG (Sept 6): As Malaysians celebrate the excellent performance by the country's athletes at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics which ended yesterday, the Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS) is looking to take the opportunity to further strengthen the agenda for persons with disabilities (PWD).
Its Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said it was time to amend the Persons with Disabilities Act 2008 to bridge the gap, besides providing more facilities and access to the group, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
For a start, he said important services such as welfare assistance, banking, food and retail should be made fully accessible, especially through digital services, for the disabled to carry out their daily affairs.
"Similarly, employment opportunities, where the policy of 1% employment for the disabled in the public sector should be fully realised. I hope the Public Service Department (PSD) can increase the number of employment opportunities for this group and I am confident the private sector will also follow suit.
"Our Paralympic family members who are now known around the world as 'WeThe15', who represent 15% or 1.2 billion of the world’s population, (they) must be given equal rights as every other Malaysian. We must take the right action, right now," he said during a press conference when welcoming the return of the final batch of the national contingent from Tokyo at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) here today.
Ahmad Faizal also urged all parties to provide support to PWD in terms of running sustainable Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), as well as improving the public facilities provided for the group.
He said this was one way for Malaysians to express their appreciation for the special group which has helped in developing the country, besides making the nation proud.
"As a family, it is the responsibility of all parties to help the disabled. The role to develop Paralympic athletes should not only lie with KBS, a holistic approach for all levels of society begins with the cooperation of the federal and state governments," he explained.
The three gold and two silver medals at the Paralympics is Malaysia's best achievement since participating in the first edition of the Games in 1972 in Heidelberg, Germany, surpassing the achievement of three gold and one bronze in Rio 2016.