PETALING JAYA: The 2017 Budget must take into account disability issues by waiving the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for assistive and medical equipment for the handicapped.
Damai Disabled People Association (Damai) President V Murugeswaran said the six per cent GST imposed on products for the disabled is “really burdening us”.
“The six per cent is a big burden. It’s not only a six per cent on our equipment but its six per cent on our daily lives,” he told FMT when contacted.
He said that apart from wheelchairs and walking sticks, products in use daily, such as diapers, urine bags and catheters, must be exempted from the GST.
Independent Living and Training Centre Malaysia (ILTC) President G Francis Siva also echoed similar sentiments, pointing out that most of the disabled are under the care of family members or NGOs.
“We all use urine bags and diapers every day. The government is really ‘killing’ us by imposing the six per cent tax.
“Most of us have no jobs. I hope the government will find a way; otherwise we are finished.
“The GST must be completely exempted for the disabled. We are already suffering.”
Murugeswaran reminded that the disabled don’t have as many opportunities as the abled-bodied people.
“The thing is, the abled-bodied have more opportunities to earn more money. But we, the disabled, have limited choices to earn money.
“What kind of government takes six per cent from the disabled to run the country?”
At present, the disabled can get a GST waiver when purchasing certain goods. However, they must first obtain a recommendation from disabled groups or a medical officer.
Murugeswaran said the current procedure of getting an exemption was simply too tedious.
“Why can’t the authorities recognise the disabled cards produced by the ministry? That is already good enough to confirm that the person is a disabled. Why do they still need a medical report?
“These processes will definitely take a lot of time and just burdens the disabled even more.”
Meanwhile, Murugeswaran said that the Budget must also set aside more allocations for the education sector so that schools are more accessible for the disabled.
“Most of the schools are not accessible for the disabled and they have to travel a long distance to obtain an education.
“They should be fully accessible for people in wheelchairs.
“Education is a fundamental right for every human being. ”