Daily Express
INDEPENDENT NATIONAL NEWSPAPER OF EAST MALAYSIA
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Quest to document Sabah's physically disabled

Published on: Monday, June 23, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: Minister of Community Development and Consumer Affairs, Datuk Jainab Ahmad Ayid, is on the quest to rectify issues regarding undocumented Sabahans - especially the physically handicapped.

She reminded parents with children in such condition to get their birth certificates and MyKads.

"They are not useless human beings. Everyone has his or her own strengths," she said.

"The physically challenged are capable of having a good future if you steer them in the right path. It's not the end of the world when you find out your child has a disability."

Jainab was commenting on an issue regarding a local who preferred to be known as 'Lola', currently residing in Nilai, Negeri Sembilan.

According to reports, Lola abandoned her disabled son in a locked room.

"She is believed to be a Sabahan from Tawau. Sadly, the child, although a Malaysian, is undocumented.

"So this makes it difficult for the Welfare Department to help him.

I will go to the Peninsula within the next few days to rectify the issue," added Jainab during a press conference held after the State-level 'Hari Pengasuh' at Magellan Sutera on Sunday.

"A child is God's gift whether he or she is physically challenged or not.

Their imperfection is not something to be ashamed of," said Jainab.

"Help them get documented because without official documents, we are unable to help them even if they are locals," she added.

Although disappointed by the neglect, Jainab said parents like in the case of Lola should not be put to shame, as she probably had little to no knowledge at all that the government has various ways of helping the physically disabled.

"Having a physically challenged child should not be seen as a burden."

Among the government assistance include finances from the welfare departments all over Malaysia, welfare bodies and many Taskas where no fees are needed for enrolment. There are also NGOs helping out.

With this, Jainab said Lola could have sent her child to school where he could learn to be independent.

"Be fair to all of your children regardless of their physical condition," reminded Jainab to all parents especially those who have children who are disabled. "Show them your love, care and support. Not everyone is blessed to have their own children."

Meanwhile, Jainab said managing stress is also important when it comes to taking care of children.

"We are a caring government. Lola may not be aware of the government's assistance.

We should make her aware of it. Refrain from embarrassing her.

"There's no need for that. We have to understand that she does not have enough money and, therefore, possess minimal finances to support her child. They are poor people.

"It costs a lot of money to send a child to school.

Educate her on the possibility of getting free education for her child.

She probably doesn't even know it exists. There are many other ways to get help from the government."

As for the appropriate action towards her and other parents in the similar position, it is up to the registration department, said Jainab.

"In Lola's case, it will be determined by the registration department in KL."

"What's done cannot be undone, but it's never too late to solve the problem."

Meanwhile, there are 191 registered Taskas in Sabah involving 4,060 children with 2,479 nannies as of 2013.

"It's about time we look at this job in a respectable way.

Perhaps locals will start appreciating it more when the post is renamed to something more up to standard such as Home Manager."