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Jainab to raise issue at Cabinet meeting
Published on: Sunday, September 24, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: State Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Jainab Ahmad plans to raise the issue of deaf students facing difficulty continuing their studies after Form Three at the next State Cabinet meeting and for appropriate action to be taken by the Ministry.

She said Sabah Society for the Deaf President Francis Yong had briefed her Permanent Secretary during their recent courtesy call that there is currently no opportunity for such students to proceed to Form Four after completing their Form Three.

"They have to go to West Malaysia if they wish to continue their studies. Otherwise, they have no choice but to join the Keningau Vocational College, which I was told offers only limited courses for deaf students," she said.

She further stressed her concerns over the issue as it will greatly affect the future of the deaf students.

"I was told that Francis brought the matter to the attention of the Ministry two years ago but no action was taken," said Jainab when officiating the International Deaf Day Celebration 2017, here, Saturday.

Jainab also commended Sabah Society for the Deaf for being one of the most active NGOs in Sabah.

It has grown tremendously over the years and benefited many deaf people in Sabah, especially in education.

Six education centers have been established in the State providing mainly pre-school education, deaf teen development programme, vocational programme, besides regular sign language classes for parents and the public.

Two Memoranda of Understanding were also signed by Grandis Hotel and Resort and Sutera Sanctuary Lodges Sdn Bhd with Sabah Society for the Deaf to provide job opportunities for the deaf.

"This is very meaningful as it will give an assurance to the deaf who to look for a job after they have graduated in their studies or course.

"I hope more companies will emulate the good example and do something to fulfil their social responsibility by employing the deaf and other OKUs. In many cases, given the right opportunity and proper training, some of the OKUs can also perform equally good as the normal people or even better," she said.

Meanwhile, President Francis Yong said the main aims of International Deaf Daywere to promote understanding of deaf issues, to mobilise support for dignity, rights and wellbeing of deaf people, to showcase deaf talents and skills, to provide an opportunity for cultural exchange, fellowship and networking among the deaf and to provide opportunities for development of self-esteem, self-confidence and self-reliance.

"I believe there are still many parents with deaf children who are still not aware of the existence of our deaf education centres.

"I hope our various branches can put in more effort to conduct more outreach programmes to create more awareness, especially among the people of the rural areas in Sabah such as Kota Marudu, Pitas, Ranau and Kinabatangan where we yet to have a branch.

"While our Society has provided pre-school education to the young deaf children, we have not neglected the older ones as we are also very concerned about the performance and personal development of the older deaf students studying in both primary schools and secondary schools in Sabah," said Yong.

Other programmes such as Deaf Awareness Forum, Sign Language Workshop, School Video Clip, Awards Presentation, Performance Presentation, Career Opportunities Forum, Wall of Fame and Short Film by the Deaf were also presented during the event. - Locksley Ng

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