January: Inclusive education and sports awards
In January 2019, the Ministry of Education’s “zero reject policy” was implemented. It was put in place to ensure that all special needs students have access to education, and students with disabilities do not drop out of school. Under this policy, state education departments and district education offices must approve applications from all special needs students, and ensure that their schools are able to cater to their basic needs.
Para athlete Mohamad Ridzuan Puzi also won the 2018 Best Asian Mala Para Athlete award in January, after his record-breaking 100m T36 run and long jump at the Asian Para Games.
February: Sporting glory continues
Malaysian Para athlete Muhammad Afiq bagged a gold medal in the men’s 100m T12 (visual impairment) at the 11th Fazza World Para Athletics Grand Prix in Dubai.
March: The AnIS Fund and PWD Leadership
The Selangor government launches the AnIS fund, or Bantuan Khas Anak Istimewa Selangor. It provides financial assistance to parents of children with disabilities.. Each family can draw a maximum amount of RM5,000 to be used for various needs, including rehabilitation equipment. Application forms can be obtained from any government service centre.
In the same month, the Beautiful Gate Foundation opened their Disabled Leaders Training Centre, which also serves as their headquarters. Training courses at the centre will provide PWD with the tools to become leaders within the foundation as well as in their professional lives.
May: i-Sign Ibadah launched
USIM introduced the i-Sign Ibadah app to help deaf Muslims use sign language in religious practice.
June: World champions and UNESCO collaborations
S. Suresh was crowned world para archery champion, the first Malaysian to hold the title.
The Limkokwing Foundation for People with Disabilities began their new collaboration with the Unesco Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE). Their goal is to implement new ICT solutions in education targeted to PWDs. Both parties will work on research and advanced technologies that will enhance teaching, learning and social inclusion. They are also developing a new project, the ICT for University Accessibility Network.
July: Telecommunication rebates
Maxis introduced a lifetime monthly rebate for users with a valid OKU card. The rebate applies to PWD who sign up for a Hotlink Postpaid Flex plan with SMS and unlimited calls. For RM30 a month, any PWD with a valid OKU card gets 5GB of data, unlimited calls, and SMSes to all networks. You can apply for the rebate at any Maxis Centre or with any Maxis Exclusive Partners.
Aug: Academic successes and conferences
After initially being denied leave by the Ministry of Education, deaf teacher Lee Tur Chung, gained leave to pursue his 4-year doctorate in the United states as a Fulbright scholarship student. Malaysia also hosted the first International Special Education Exhibition (ISEE), bringing together industry leaders and academics to empower those with special needs.
Dec: Local representation
Garang, the first action film featuring OKU actors and characters, was released in local theatres.
Efforts continue by local activists to strengthen the Persons with Disabilities Act 2008, and make discrimination or obstructing the rights of PWD a punishable offense. While the road ahead is long, work to improve the welfare and status of PWDs in Malaysia goes on.
Aftar S. (2019) Ridzuan is first Malaysian voted Asia’s best male athlete [Accessed: 5 Dec 2019] Available at: https://www.thestar.com.my/sport/athletics/2019/01/04/thats-unparalleled-ridzuan-is-first-malaysian-voted-asias-best-male-athlete
Azzman A.J. (2019) Aplikasi bantu golongan OKU pendengaran beribadah [Accessed: 5 Dec 2019] Available at: https://www.bharian.com.my/berita/nasional/2019/05/566646/aplikasi-bantu-golongan-oku-pendengaran-beribadah
Bernama (2019) Hotlink tawar 5GB data, panggilan tiada had kepada OKU [Accessed: 5 Dec 2019] Available at: https://www.bharian.com.my/bisnes/lain-lain/2019/07/580072/hotlink-tawar-5gb-data-panggilan-tiada-had-kepada-oku
NST Sport (2019) Para archer Suresh wins world title [Accessed: 5 Dec 2019] Available at: https://www.nst.com.my/sports/others/2019/06/495020/para-archer-suresh-wins-world-title
Sandhya M. (2019) Plans for special needs students [Accessed: 5 Dec 2019] Available at: https://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2019/01/06/plans-for-special-needs-students/
Tahir A. (2019) #Showbiz: ‘Garang’, first feature film starring OKU talents, out Dec 5 [Accessed: 5 Dec 2019] Available at: https://mind.org.my/news/showbiz-garang-first-feature-film-starring-oku-talents-out-dec-5/
The Star (2019) Foundation in pact with Unesco [Accessed: 5 Dec 2019] Available at: https://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2019/06/09/foundation-in-pact-with-unesco
The Star (2019) Leave granted for deaf teacher chasing his dream [Accessed: 5 Dec 2019] Available at: https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/08/13/leave-granted-for-deaf-teacher-chasing-his-dream
The Star (2019) Para athlete Afiq finds wind beneath his wings in Dubai [Accessed: 5 Dec 2019] Available at: https://www.thestar.com.my/sport/athletics/2019/02/28/para-athlete-afiq-finds-wind-beneath-his-wings-in-dubai/
The Star (2019) Special education exhibition to be in August [Accessed: 5 Dec 2019] Available at: https://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2019/06/16/special-education-exhibition-to-be-in-august/
Wani M. (2019) Fund set up to help parents of special children in Selangor [Accessed: 5 Dec 2019] Available at: https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/03/01/fund-set-up-to-help-parents-of-special-children-in-selangor/
Zawin S. (2019) Foundation opens leadership training centre for disabled [Accessed: 5 Dec 2019] Available at: https://www.thestar.com.my/metro/metro-news/2019/03/08/foundation-opens-leadership-training-centre-for-disabled/