PETALING JAYA: The Association of Women with Disabilities (AWD) has called for a more comprehensive and inclusive 2020 Population and Housing Census that covers questions on persons with disabilities.
Its president Bathmavati Krishnan noted only half a million Malaysians have registered as an OKU (disabled persons) under the welfare department, but estimated the actual figure to be around 4.5 million.
She said it was important to collect data on the group to ensure better funding and living quarters for disabled persons for the next 10 years, which was lacking from the e-census.
“You need to have recreational facilities that are accessible to persons with disabilities,” she said at an online forum organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group of Malaysia on Sustainable Development Goals (APPGM-SDG) today.
“There are many cases where blind people have fallen due to infrastructure that is not user-friendly,” she said.
Bathmavati said future housing developments needed to be more disabled-friendly by enabling space for modifications such as ramps and bathrooms that would make the homes accessible for the physically-impaired.
“The census must have a section on disabilities. By the year 2030 we’re going to have an aging society and many issues faced by senior citizens also overlap those faced by persons with disability.”
She urged the government and the statistics department to review and amend the survey to be more inclusive for the second phase of the census, which involves face-to-face interviews from Jan 20 to Feb 6, 2021.
“From now until January, when the face-to-face interviews will take place, train the enumerators properly and if possible, include detailed questions to gather info about disability.”
Meanwhile, the statistics department’s population and demographic statistics division director Rozita Talha said the 108 questions for the census were designed after consulting various agencies and NGOs, including the welfare department.
“For a census, we cannot put in so many questions on certain things because it would burden the respondent,” she said.
“Certain information needs specific surveys to cater for special needs. If we have more questions on disabilities, people may start to ask why there are so many (questions).”
Acknowledging that there was always room for improvement, she added that the department would work to include more comprehensive questions in the next census, which will take place 10 years from now.