Political participation of persons with disabilities vital

Asia-Pacific, Misc., July 26 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: A non-governmental organisation of people who are blind wants more political participation from Persons with Disabilities  ahead of the next general election.

The National Council of the Blind (NCBM) project consultant Muhamad Nadhir Abdul Nasir said participation was crucial as it would help in its quest to improve the rights and interests of persons with disabilities.

“In the past, it could be seen there was low participation from persons with disabilities. But with the current state of political affairs in the country, persons with disabilities also want to play a part,” he said in a recent interview.

In this respect, he said, the NCBM had launched a project titled “Political Participation among Persons with Disabilities” which is aimed to increase the community’s interest in their rights.

He said NCBM was also drafting a guideline which will assist media practitioners on terms to use when writing about persons with disabilities.

Both were developed by the Asean General Election Network on Disability Access (Agenda), and which their handbook has been localised into Malaysia’s political context.

Other activities included discussions held with the Election Commission (EC), Social Welfare Department and PWDs’ top representatives to review the handbook by making it suitable for the local scene.

The EC has been supportive on the efforts made as they had pointed out that some officers may lack knowledge on how to assist persons with disabilities, he said.

The NCBM had announced in June that a book is being drafted to ensure a smooth operation for the next general election for voters with disabilities .

Its project manager Wong Yoon Loong said the book, titled “Panduan Membantu dan Berinteraksi dengan Orang Kurang Upaya”, will be between 70 and 80 pages complete with illustrations.

The illustrations will make it easier to the public in order to highlight on the management of persons with disabilities during the election period and specific terms that are used to address a people with disability, he said.

He added it will also be aimed to inform persons with disabilities on their rights as voters, which they may not know, such as having a “most trusted friend” to accompany voters with disabilities, instead of a family member, to the ballot stations.

Source: Sun Daily

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