Malaysia to ratify UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities
KUALA LUMPUR, March 2 : Malaysia will ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in April this year, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said.
In ratifying the convention, the ministry has targeted two areas, mainly accessibility and employment as priorities for this year, she said.
She said focusing on these two areas would help people with disabilities to become more independent and also contribute to the country’s economic growth.
"The ministry has begun taking concrete steps to realise the UNCRPD and the Persons with Disabilities Act 2008."
Malaysia signed the UNCRPD and enforced the Persons with Disabilities Act in 2008.
"Several priority areas in issues relating to the rights of persons with disabilities have been identified, and two areas targeted for 2010 are accessibility and employment," said Shahrizat, after after making an unscheduled appearance at the national conference on "Accessibility and Universal Design: Implications for Public Transport and the Built Environment" today.
The two-day conference, which started today, is a joint effort between the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Department for the Development of Persons with Disabilities, Social Welfare Department and the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development.
Shahrizat said the ministry will start working with several local councils and state government agencies in Malacca, Pahang, Sarawak and Kuala Lumpur to ensure that all existing guidelines and standards such as the Uniform Building Bylaws are adhered to and enforced.
She urged Kuala Lumpur City Hall to be among the first to make changes and create a more barrier-free environment.
"Kuala Lumpur is the nation’s window to the world. Changes should start here," she said.
She also urged local councils to establish special units to deal with issues relating to accessibility.
"These special units should also employ persons with disabilities who can contribute input to make the environment disabled friendly and barrier free," she said.
She said while there are many acts, laws and bylaws available, the lack of enforcement by the local authorities hampers the efforts to make Malaysia a disabled friendly nation.
Shahrizat admitted that Malaysia is lagging behind in terms of creating a disabled friendly environment but noted that the setbacks can be tackled if all government agencies, departments and ministries collaborate. -- theSun