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LETTER | Special select committee on disabled persons affairs needed

Muhamad Nadhir Abdul Nasir

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LETTER | On Nov 11, the Dewan Rakyat approved the motion to replace the 10 previously established special select committees with nine new ones. 

It made me think, why not establish a special select committee for disabled persons’ inclusion affairs?

Maybe some issues relating to the law, for example, the review and amendment of the Persons with Disabilities Act 2008, can be brought to the Special Select Committee on Fundamental Liberty and Constitutional Rights, while other matters are perhaps relevant for the Special Select Committee on Women and Children Affairs and Social Development.

In theory, disabled peoples’ issues can be brought to any of the nine new special select committees.

However, I am quite sceptical whether any of these committees will give equal attention to disabled persons’ issues relating to their respective areas of responsibility.

Plus, I do believe there are strong justifications for a special select committee for disabled persons' affairs. 

First, issues surrounding and affecting persons with impairment and/or chronic illness are cross-ministerial and cross-sectoral.

Their issues are not limited only to welfare aid. Instead, their issues overlap with different life dimensions such as the economy and income, education, healthcare, technology, infrastructure, transportation, social services, social protection, disaster management, and so forth.

Second, issues such as physical accessibility across this country necessitate close cooperation between the federal government, state governments, and local authorities.

Third, the agenda of disabled persons’ empowerment and inclusion in Malaysia closely ties to our country’s commitments at the international and regional levels, such as the Incheon Strategy and the Asean Enabling Masterplan 2025.

Hence, such a committee is expressly needed as a part of the check and balance mechanism so the government can fulfil its duties and achieve the targets stated in the international, regional, and national plans.

Finally, the establishment of the committee can expand channels for the disabled community and their organisations to raise their voices and concerns on various issues affecting them. 

This, ultimately, will increase the participation of persons with impairment and/or chronic illness in our nation’s democratic processes.


The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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