PRIOR to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Malaysia had never won gold at the Games.
So when three Paralympians managed to clinch the top spots on the podium, the nation burst into joy.
Long jumper Abdul Latif Romly (T20, learning disabilities), 100m runner Mohd Ridzuan Puzi (T36, cerebral palsy) and shot putter Ziyad Zolkefli (T20) became instant millionaires after receiving 1 million RM and a monthly allowance of RM 5,000 each under the government incentive scheme.
This year, Malaysia repeated its three gold medals at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. But this time the gold isn’t just coming from athletics.
While Abdul Latif managed to defend his title, the other two champions were weightlifter Bonnie Bunyau Gustin (72 kg category) and men’s singles badminton ace Cheah Liek Hou (SU5, upper body impairment) .
Their achievements have not gone unnoticed by the government, as under the 2022 budget the National Sports Council (NSC) will receive RM10 million to improve training programs for the disabled (OKU) and build the Sports League of OKU.
Cheah Hosts Sports League for Para-athletes: âBadminton players like me need more tournaments to compete because that’s where we can gain experience while playing under pressure.
âIt’s also a way of maintaining our level of play and a measure of our position against our rivals.
“Juniors can also benefit from such an initiative, while coaches can use such platforms to find new talent and further develop the junior program,” he said.
Another laudable initiative under the 2022 budget is the continuation of the MyRail5 initiative, through which students and people with disabilities can enjoy unlimited rides on KTM trains for RM5 per month.
In addition to reducing the burden on students and people with disabilities affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the measure is also seen as encouraging more people to use public transport.
For employers who offer job opportunities to focus groups such as people with disabilities, the government offers an incentive of 30% of their monthly salary for the first six months, and 40% of the monthly salary for the following six months. for salaries between RM1,200 and 10,000 RM.
In addition, the Malaysia Short Term Employment Program (MySTEP) will set aside a special 1% quota for the community to enter the workforce.
The Malaysian Spinal Cord Injury Association has said it is essential to encourage employers to hire people with disabilities under the current circumstances.
Its chairman Mohd Rizal Mat Noor said many people with disabilities lost their jobs and source of income during the pandemic.
“This will give them the opportunity to rebuild their careers and their earning power,” he said, adding that it would lead to a wider range of employment opportunities which would allow more members of the community to work together. ” gain work experience.
The effort is complemented by a further allocation of RM 10 million to independent living centers and the government industrial training and rehabilitation center for the purpose of training and mentoring for people with disabilities.
Another measure that has won hearts is that all TV stations, including private ones, will have sign language hosts in their news papers to convey information to groups of people with disabilities.
As part of the 2022 budget, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz also announced an allocation of RM 30 million to make government buildings OKU compatible and provide more special routes for the visually impaired.
The cost of motor vehicle permits for people with disabilities will also be covered by the government.
Welcoming the decision, the President of the Society of Disabled Person Penang, Datuk Teh Lay Kuan, said, âIt will help us greatly, as a disabled-friendly environment is very important for the mobility of people with disabilities.
âThese buildings give us access to important services, including digital services, banking services, food and retail services, and social assistance.
“I hope the allocation will also be used to create more parking spaces for people with disabilities.”
He hopes that the monthly allowance of RM 450 for disabled workers with an income of RM 1,500 and less could be increased, as the prices of essential items have increased over the years.
As part of the 2022 budget, the government will also provide RM 50 million to finance the purchase of teaching materials and to improve facilities in special schools.