New Unit to Enhance Communication with Persons with Disabilities in Malaysia

Asia-Pacific, Disaster, News, December 21 2020

MALAYSIA: The Persons With Disabilities (PWD) Communication Unit which will be launched next year is aimed at improving the delivery of service and information to the community nationwide.

Communication and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said the unit will work closely with the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry in various joint-efforts including providing explanations, aid disbursement and ensure vital information reaches the community.

“Since the Social Welfare Department is under the ministry (Women, Family and Community Development Ministry), I have discussed with the minister Datuk Seri Rina Harun. We agreed that her ministry concentrates on disbursing the aid while we (ministry) will look into the communication aspects using PWD-friendly methods through national television and radio stations.

“I am concerned about communication being the barrier for the disabled community from receiving assistance or proper information when they go to government agencies or the hospital. The unit will help improve the efficiency of the registration process for the disabled at state and district levels, ” he told reporters after visiting 25 flood victims from four families at Kampung Sungai Ular multipurpose hall near Cherating, here, today.

Saifuddin, who is also the Indera Mahkota member of parliament, said he was identifying the individual who will be put in charge of the seven categories of disabilities.

Meanwhile, Saifuddin said the PWD communication unit, under the ministry’s Community Communications Department, will provide inclusivity and channel all the required information for the community.

“For example, someone who is deaf might not understand the word ‘waris’ (next-of-kin) when filling up a form but for us, the word might be normal. It is not because we often read but because we always listen when the respective word is being used.

“Their (deaf people) vocabulary understanding will be different so to facilitate this, the unit will offer a convenient and systematic communication method to ensure the group has easy access to information and matters which are in their interests,” he said.

On a separate matter, Saifuddin said the recognition of the internet connectivity as the third utility in the 2021 Budget received positive feedback from all the Menteris Besar and Chief Ministers.

“I spoke to several Menteris Besar and Chief Ministers…..the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) also provided detailed explanations during the state-level executive council meeting.

“All the states have agreed for the internet to be listed as a utility. The next focus is how it is included as part of the state’s physical plan and its implementation,” he said.

When tabling the 2021 budget, Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz announced that telecommunication networks could be considered as a third utility and that virtual services were becoming more common in the new norm.

Originally Published on NST

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