Stigma and a lack of printers hurdles to registering Malaysia’s disabled, says deputy minister

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh addresses a press conference at Sunway University in Petaling Jaya November 17, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh addresses a press conference at Sunway University in Petaling Jaya November 17, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

SUBANG JAYA, Nov 17 — Hannah Yeoh believes the number of disabled Malaysians is higher than the current 500,000-plus currently registered with the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry.

As its deputy minister, Yeoh said the government is seeking to ensure those who need its assistance are able to get it, but has not been able to provide it due to a lack of data.

She attributed this to a lack of basic registration facilities, like a printer.

“Basic registration facilities like printers is one of the reasons why the registration process is slow, and therefore has deterred many from getting themselves registered in the system,” she said in her speech at the Malaysia Applied Behaviour Analysis International Symposium 2019 here today.

According to Yeoh, adding just one more printer in each state could shorten the registration process time.

“It is embarrassing that I have to admit this is one of the reasons which is contributing to the inefficiency in the registration process.

“But we hope to address all these problems, even something as basic as this. We have to start somewhere and we hope that the public will be patient with us,” she added.

Yeoh said another possible contributor impeding data collection could be the deep shame some parents feel in having children with disabilities.

“And stigma could also be one of the reasons, where parents are not confident enough to make it known that their children need disabled assistance,” she said.

Yeoh said her ministry will embark on a registration drive starting next year and focus on hard to reach locations.

“Jom Daftar is already ongoing, but we want to reach those who are in rural areas.

“We are planning for this hopefully next February to Lawas, Sarawak,” she said.

The Segambut MP also urged her fellow elected representatives nationwide to identify organisations helping the disabled to improve the registration system.

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