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30,771 disabled in Sabah get their OKU Card
Published on: Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: A total of 30,771 disabled people (OKU) who have registered with the State Welfare Services Department have been issued with an OKU Card as of June this year.

Most of them have learning and physical disabilities, accounting for 11,554 and 10,043, respectively, while the rest having hearing disability (3,943), visual impairment (2,983), multiple disabilities (1,244), mental disability (859) and speech disability.

State Welfare Department Director Ithong @ Etong Terang urged parents or guardians of a disabled child still not registered with the department to do so, so that they can enjoy various benefits and privileges provided for the OKU.

Registration of OKU, although on a voluntarily basis, is important for the department to know the exact number and distribution of OKU throughout the State and enable it to plan for their development especially in terms of facilities for their conveniences.

Etong said this in a press conference held in conjunction with SATU (Suara Anda Tanggungjawab Utama) programme, introduced following the child abuse case involving Muhd Firdaus Dullah, at the department's office in the Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) here Monday.

The programme was highlighted by a nationwide video conferencing by Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Rohani Haji Abdul Karim to the invited group of OKUs, followed by the presentation of a smart card-version of the OKU Card that replaces the old version.

The smart card-version of the OKU Card was introduced in 2011.

Registered OKUs get access to application for financial assistance from the department like the RM300 worker allowance for the disabled, RM80 general assistance, RM2,700 (business) launching grants, RM150 assistance for OKU incapable of working and so on, apart from training facilities like the Community-based Rehabilitation (CBR), Taman Sinar Harapan nursery and rehabilitation institution, protected workshops and advisory and counselling services, as well as the OKU Card.

Other facilities by government departments and agencies include exemption from road tax for OKUs driving or riding a locally made car, van or motorcycle as provided by Transport Ministry/Road Transport Department that took effect early this year.

Also, a RM150 monthly allowance for OKU students studying at primary and secondary levels, exemption from payment to make passports, 100 per cent exemption on OKU vehicle excise duty, 50 per cent discount on study fees at Open University Malaysia, 20 per cent discount for house purchase, 50 per cent discount for Malaysia Airlines (MAS) domestic flight ticket and so on.

"The road tax exemption is benefited by many OKUs in Sabah who are either driving or riding tricyclesÉthere are many of them in the State," said Etong.

Asked on the readiness of Ministries, departments and agencies concerned in Sabah involved in providing the facilities to OKUs concerned, he said in Sabah so far there is no complaint from the OKUs.

Community Development and Consumer Affairs Ministry's Deputy Permanent Secretary Janet Chee was also present.

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