Friday, March 6, 2009

Make workplace more disabled-friendly

KUCHING: Infrastructure and an environment that is not disabled-friendly is the reason why many employers find it difficult to hire the disabled, said Sarawak Welfare Department director Kendy Edward.

She said an environment that was not disabled-friendly restricted the movement of this group of people.

“The problem is not the qualifications or job offers, but the lack of a disabled-friendly environment, which should be addressed.

“Many employers are keen to hire the disabled, but the environment is not suitable for them,” she told reporters after the closing the Bicara Bestari smart talk programme on the topic Empowering the Disabled, Outlining Success, Proving Ability here recently.

Edward urged employers to provide disabled-friendly facilities to allow them to carry out their tasks with ease, instead of only offering jobs.
She said the employers must provide facilities such as barrier-free zones, ICT facilities and support equipment to allow them to move freely and do their work well.

“I hope those in the public and private sectors will provide the disabled with suitable jobs based on their qualifications and degree of disability as well as access to the workplace,” she said.
To encourage the private sector to hire more disabled persons, Kendy said the state allowed tax reductions for renovations to make offices disabled-friendly.

There are 19,857 disabled people registered with the Sarawak Welfare Department of whom 2,006 are blind, 2,647 deaf, 7,072 physically disabled, 7,196 slow learners and 936 with cerebral palsy.

The Bicara Bestari programme will present its findings to instil care and respect and promote acceptance and openness towards the disabled. – Bernama