PUTRAJAYA: A group of disabled activists today turned up at the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development here, hitting out at its minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and her deputy Hannah Yeoh after the duo failed to meet them despite repeated requests.
Members from the Independent Living and Training Centre and the Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly gathered outside the ministry today with a memorandum for Wan Azizah, accusing the ministry of not showing concern for the disabled community.
The group’s spokesman Anthony Thanasayan said the previous government was better in their treatment of the disabled community whenever a meeting was requested.
“They saw us when we needed to see them. When we needed to see (then-minister) Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, within five hours she would cancel her meetings and be here to receive us. She knew her priorities.
“Why don’t our minister and deputy minister know their priorities?” he asked, as activists gathered with placards, shouting “Fail, fail, fail”.
Fellow activist, ILTC Malaysia president G Francis Siva, said the group would hold a protest at the Parliament if they still could not meet the minister.
“We are not threatening, but if we are unable to get a meeting with either the minister or her deputy, we will hold a demonstration at the next parliamentary sitting,” he said.
Anthony said Wan Azizah and Yeoh have still not accepted their requests for a meeting, adding that the duo were “cowards” and were not fit to hold the positions.
“If they are unable to meet us today, they should have told us so, and that we can meet up at another time.
“They are telling us they don’t want to listen to us,” he told reporters outside the ministry here today.
The former councillor of the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), also pointed out the lack of facilities for the disabled and elderly, including parking bays and wheelchairs.
“There should at least be 50 to 100 wheelchairs available, for the elderly and those unable to walk,” he said.
Anthony said the disabled community should not be treated “like animals”, adding that they did not come for a sightseeing tour of Putrajaya.
Anthony said the ministry had done “nothing” for the disabled community.
Meanwhile, Francis said the ministry should review and update the welfare department’s policies and services for the disabled.
He said the government should also review allowances for the handicapped, bedridden and unemployed, saying they should be given RM500 a month.
Francis also called for the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to be implemented at all levels of the government.
He said members of the National Council for the Disabled should be chosen from among the grassroots who are well versed in issues concerning the community.
“There is no need to include those academics or those from the upper echelons of society,” he added.