Budget 2017 disappoints people with disabilities

disabilitiesPETALING JAYA: Many groups and NGOs representing people with disabilities (PWD) feel let down by Budget 2017, as the GST exemption announced did not include daily necessities and medical supplies.

Independent Living and Training Centre Malaysia (ILTC) President G Francis Siva told FMT he was disappointed that Putrajaya had only waived off the GST for assistive equipment, such as wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs.

“These are things that can last us for five to 10 years.

“What we really needed was an exemption for the consumables, and other items that help us on a daily basis. These include medical equipment, such as catheters, urine bags, diapers and medicine,” Francis said.

The only good part of the budget, he said was that the disabled need not go through disability groups to obtain GST relief for aid equipment.

Prime Minister Najib Razak had today announced a GST relief for the purchase of aid equipment for registered PWDs without going through charity organisations.

Previously, the GST was waived off for assistive equipment upon obtaining a recommendation from disabled groups or medical officers.

Francis also reminded Putrajaya that opportunities for disabled persons paled in comparison to abled-bodied people, and as such the monthly welfare assistance should be increased to RM500 from the current RM300.

“We can’t have proper jobs and we don’t have proper income.

“We need more support from the government because we are suffering at the moment. Our daily expenses have increased and the current monthly welfare assistance is just not enough.

“If the monthly welfare is increased to RM500, we will appreciate it very much.”

Najib had also announced in his budget speech that a sum of RM535 million will be allocated to groups for the disabled. The amount is to cover employee allowance, disabled children training allowance and assistance for the disabled who are unable to work, among other things.

The Prime Minister said that this programme is set to benefit nearly 150,000 disabled people across the country.