LETTER | The launch of specialjobs.com.my – a free job portal specifically for the disabled community – is a welcome development in forging equal opportunities for all Malaysians.
The strategic partnership between Brickfields Asia College (BAC), an education group and the Ministry of Human Resources is a significant milestone in the nation’s history. Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran and Labour department director-general Mohd Jeffrey Joakim should be applauded for facilitating this significant effort with the support of the BAC.
While there have been portals catering to the disabled, this is the first time there is a collaboration between a private educational institution and the government, which reveals the benefits that is derived from collaboration between the government and the private sector.
This is in line with the suggested new provisions of the Employment Act that emphasise equal opportunities for all Malaysians to pursue a career without being discriminated. Similarly, this should be complemented by identifying and categorising jobs that can be performed by the disabled and company recruitment policies that welcome the potential of the disabled community.
It vital to point out that employment opportunities in Malaysia today are coloured by prejudices such as ethnic preferences, gender inequality and the lack of appreciation for the potential and qualities of the disabled community. Corporate social responsibility programmes are geared more towards public relations exercises that result in polishing corporate credentials rather creating opportunities to empower the disabled.
In this context, the endeavour to create favourable employment opportunities for the disabled is a positive move but it needs a mechanism or a body that would enhance its effectiveness. There is a need for a paradigm shift in the industrial culture of employers and employees towards progressive practices and support a mechanism that would reduce injustice in hiring practices.
We need to create a disabilities commission to ensure there is no deliberate discrimination. We could emulate the United Kingdom’s Disability Rights Commission (DRC) that was established by the British Labour government in 1999. At that time, the DRC was the UK's third equality commission alongside the Commission for Racial Equality and the Equal Opportunities Commission.
Therefore, it is hoped that progressive policies to promote employment equality for the disabled community as well as a mechanism to support it, will be part of Malaysia’s industrial culture.
There is a continuous need for collaborative efforts between the Human Resources Ministry and the private sector to ensure progressive policies are in place to enhance human capital development in the country.
The writer is executive secretary of Pertubuhan Kebajikan Komuniti dan Dialog.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.