KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 8 — Senator Datuk Ras Adiba Radzi today called for regulations to be introduced for a more inclusive financial system to facilitate Persons with Disabilities (PwD) to perform banking transactions.
The OKU Sentral president said in a statement that shifting to online and mobile channels could help to improve financial accessibility for PwDs, for example by removing the need to visit a physical location.
“Most banking industries do not provide sufficient digital accessibility to PwDs and fail to meet the standards of Web Content Accessibility. I urge the government to introduce and implement Inclusive Financial Policy: Web Content Accessibility to tackle issues that occur among the PwD community,” she said.
Ras Adiba also urged that efforts be made by parties related to financial inclusion, which involves strengthening financial literacy and procedures for PwDs to engage in banking activities.
She said this includes building infrastructure and banking services that are disabled-friendly for customers with physical, mental, sensory, intellectual and multiple disabilities.
“Disability issues are a cross-cutting issue that needs to be handled in a comprehensive and multi-sectoral manner. It takes a strong commitment from various parties to realise financial inclusion in Malaysia.
“To improve, we need to be willing and able to measure ourselves and see where we are falling short. Many organisations are working to improve diversity and inclusion in many sectors. We need the Finance Ministry’s help to solve the myriad challenges facing us today and tomorrow,” she said.
Ras Adiba said among the other solutions that the government should look into included Artificial Intelligence (AI) and chatbots to bridge the information gap by helping customers navigate banking tasks using conversational interfaces; mobile payments and digital wallets using biometric technologies to enable greater inclusivity and security with the advantage of using a personal device rather than a point-of-sale device such as a kiosk.
Others include national awareness on disability-inclusive development; as well as natural language processing (NLP)-based text-to-speech and speech-enabled technologies to provide solutions for customers with visual and hearing impairments.
She said this when expressing her disappointment over a recent incident in Gurun, Kedah where a paralysed woman was forced to go to a bank in an ambulance to renew her ATM card, describing it as an “uncalled for request due to the bank’s refusal to help ease the card renewal process”.
“This ignorant incident shows the insensitivity of some institutions as a whole and proves that the independence of our homeland has not yet fully belonged to the disabled community in Malaysia,” she said. — Bernama