Ee Ann Nee
PETALING JAYA: Despite being more than 20 years old, a policy of allocating one per cent of jobs in the civil service to the disabled has been difficult to achieve.
Nonetheless, the Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) president Datuk Omar Osman said the target was an achievable one.
“If each government agency takes in about five disabled staff, that would be enough to reach the one per cent target. However, sometimes even this cannot be realised due to the unsuitability of jobs and skills,” he told The Malay Mail.
Omar urged public sector agencies and departments to provide a quota for the disabled groups in terms of employment opportunities and to give priority to those who meet the criteria.
Damai Disabled Persons Association of Selangor and Federal Territory president V. Murugeswaran said the policy was redundant as there was no plan to make it work.
"A majority of the disabled can contribute to nation-building but it’s how the civil service wants to tap into their potential," he said.
“The policy cannot just be a statement for political mileage or for publicity's sake. There’s job promotion from the government sector from time to time but the number of disabled takers are not encouraging.”
Murugeswaran said the disabled community have limitations in their physical movement and hence there was a need to create a barrier-free environment.
“How can a disabled person grab the job opportunity if they’re dependent on someone to get around? The disabled must be able to work independently,” he said, adding that many disabled also faced limited skills and knowledge in securing employment.
Association of Women with Disabilities Malaysia president Bathmavathi Krishnan said the one per cent quota was small but nevertheless a start.
"Having jobs available and having candidates to fill the positions is one thing but how does a disabled person get to work remains another problem," she said.
“Many disabled people are in a fix over transportation, hence everything must be in tandem in making the environment accessible.”
Beautiful Gate Foundation for the Disabled executive director Sia Siew Chin said the one per cent aim has not been fulfilled due to work place unsuitability and lack of qualification from the disabled.
“Most schools do not have accessible facilities for the disabled so the community lose out on getting proper education," she said.
“Instead of applying for jobs, most disabled would rather set up a stall and avoid the hassle of travelling, although those with qualifications can get into the civil service easily.”
Sia also said the Welfare Department, for example, had been more serious in reserving job slots for the disabled.