PETALING JAYA: Out of an estimated 4.86 million persons with disabilities (PWD) in Malaysia, only about 10% or slightly over 500,000 were officially registered as of 2019.
Contributing causes to the relatively low numbers can be attributed, at least partially, to the actual process which oddly takes very little consideration of one key point – disabled persons are … actually disabled.
On the surface, the requirements and process seem simple enough:
- A Persons with Disabilities Registration Form signed and stamped by a Medical Officer/Medical Practitioner who is registered with the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) only or a Medical Specialist who is registered with the National Specialist Register of Malaysia (NSR) only, who is currently practising at a government or private hospital or clinic;
- One (1) copy of the applicant’s birth certificate/MyKid/MyKad;
- One (1) passport-sized photo for the applicant bearing a birth certificate/MyKid.
The assumption that all OKU/PWD have equal access to information and forms online, a medical professional or district social welfare office, either geographically, physically and/or financially, is irresponsible – or ignorant at best and should be revisited to be more inclusive.
Beyond that, a cultural stigma still exists where acknowledging a disability by formally registering as an OKU is considered detrimental to the upward mobility of an individual – which despite being a real obstacle towards employment, is something some organizations are working on changing.
For now, some credit goes to the government for acknowledging and changing the term from Orang KURANG Upaya (less-abled) to Orang KELAINAN Upaya (differently-abled or specially-abled).
They have also taken steps to identify those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments, and to recognise that many are still able to function as productive members of society.
For PWD who are lucky enough to complete the official registration process, they enjoy greater accessibility to housing, education, upskilling, employment, and even transportation.
Here are among the many benefits and programmes available:
- Low house rental rate (DBKL).
- 20% discount on home purchase from SPNB.
- Free for monthly rental service for residential telephone lines only from Telekom Malaysia.
Education and employment
- Financial assistance for local public higher education institutions (IPTA), higher education institutions (IPT), polytechnics and community colleges.
- Special channel for recruitment of the disabled in IPTA.
- Rehabilitation/training opportunities in select institutions.
- General assistance (monthly payments vary according to state).
- Disability Workers Allowance (EPC).
- Assistance for Persons with Disabilities (BTB).
- Double tax relief for employers who train and hire disabled people.
- Tax relief of RM6,000 to taxpayers who have children with disabilities.
- Tax relief up to RM6,000 for purchase of special tools for personal, child or parents of OKU.
- Personal tax relief of RM6,000 to OKU and RM3,500 for spouse of OKU.
- Fees exemption to register and renew company.
- Grants from OKU Business Promotion Assistance Scheme.
- Equipment import duty exemption.
- 100% exemption from vehicle excise duty on Proton and Perodua every five years.
- Reduction of motor vehicle license fee and road tax exemption.
- 50% discount for all public transport.
- 50% discount on domestic flights for Malaysia Airlines (excluding online purchases).
- Fees exemption for MyKad and birth/death certificate searches.
- Passport fee exemption.
- Medical treatment fee exemption at government hospitals (Class 3 ward fees, expert fees, drug charges).
Click here for a more detailed guide, description, and links to all OKU benefits and programmes.
Reg Ching is a walking quadriplegic (OKU), digital business consultant, medical cannabis advocate, and cryptocurrency enthusiast. Follow his journey here.