Sunday, December 6, 2009

Disabled fight adversity for education


PETALING JAYA: For the sake of a proper education, they have to go through terrible hardship — like attending school in diapers or urinating in bottles.

Gan Mun Wai, 13, from Ipoh and Kenny Lee Man Jun, 13, from Klang are students with special needs studying at SMK Sri Permata near here. Until recently, the school had no toilet facilities for such students.

“We want to achieve our dreams,” said Mun Wai.

Mun Wai, who has suffered from spina bifida (split spine) since birth, was forced to wear pampers to school while Man Jun, who has muscular dystrophy had to urinate into a bottle before pouring it into the toilet.

Special kids: Gan Mun Wai (behind in green tie), Ooi Wai Chong (with a red school bag), Kam Yu Choi, Leong Yao Wen and Kenny Lee Man Jun, getting ready for school.

However, 10 months after both Gan and Lee started starting going to the school, it managed to secure additional allocation to modify a store room into a disabled-friendly toilet.

School principal Ong Hock Thye said the Petaling Utama district education office approved the RM15,000 allocation after several follow-ups.

Next year, another student with special needs, Song Pei Xuan, will be joining the boys in the school.

Pei Xuan has also faced great difficulty in completing her primary school education in SS2 near here.

She had to wear diapers to school and a maid would have to change her diapers during recess everyday as the school also did not have a disabled-friendly toilet.

All three are currently staying at Beautiful Gate Foundation for the Disabled in SS2 and they are sent to school everyday by a disabled-friendly van.

They are among six students — three in primary schools — who are staying at the foundation.

Three other boys, Kam Yu Choi, Leong Yao Wen and Ooi Wai Chang, are currently attending other schools which do not have toilet facilities for students with special needs.

Source: The Star

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

EASY TARGETS: Disabled must be protected

DR A. SOORIAN, Seremban

IT was shocking to read reports that criminals have no qualms about targeting the disabled and the elderly. We are told that even charity-based centres are not spared.

Also, the blind are not let alone. They are molested, whether on the streets or in the passageways of their abode. When they lodge police reports, they are not taken seriously. Braille is not available to them when it comes to filling forms.

The deaf are also disadvantaged as police officers are not trained in sign language.

Incidents of the disabled being targeted by criminals never emerged on our mainstream radar before but now seem to be commonplace. The saddest part of it all is that these handicapped victims are overly vulnerable to attack and abuse by criminals at large. And they suffer in silence.

Generally, our country is prosperous and its people compassionate. It is high time a national long-term care scheme (including insurance) for the seriously disabled was launched.

We sometimes groan and moan over minor inconveniences we face, but surely these pale into insignificance when compared with the life sentence of agony and victimisation of these disabled and elderly folk.

Most handicapped victims of crime suffer in silence as they often fail to be taken seriously by the police.    KUALA LUMPUR. 08.03.08. General Election 2008 SPR helper guide blind voters Lim Chee Wah 48yrs  and Oui Kee Heyoh 52yrs to the polling centre at SK methodist  Brickfields  P-120 Bukit Bintang . pic by S.Sugumaran
Most handicapped victims of crime suffer in silence as they often fail to be taken seriously by the police. KUALA LUMPUR. 08.03.08. General Election 2008 SPR helper guide blind voters Lim Chee Wah 48yrs and Oui Kee Heyoh 52yrs to the polling centre at SK methodist Brickfields P-120 Bukit Bintang . pic by S.Sugumaran

Sources: NST Online

Move to employ more disabled people in Johor

JOHOR BARU: The state government, with the help of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has set-up a People with Disabilities Employment Unit to encourage more employers to hire people with disabilities.

Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said the unit would provide employers with a data bank of people with disabilities whom they could hire.

It will also act as a support system where those selected will be given training that is suitable for the job.

"The setting up of this unit is one of Johor's efforts to increase the number of people with disabilities in the workforce," he said after opening a national conference on employment and disability here yesterday.

Also present were Social Welfare Department director-general Datuk Meme Zainal Rashid and UNDP assistant resident representative James George Chacko.

Ghani said the setting up of the unit was due to the success of an employment model jointly developed by UNDP and the State Economic Planning Unit. He said the state's immediate target was to fulfil the one per cent quota of employment for people with disabilities in government agencies.

"From there, we hope to expand it to the private sector," he added.

Ghani said for too long, people with disabilities had been discouraged by discriminatory barriers and mistaken assumptions about their capacity to work, causing most of them to withdraw from an active search for jobs and rely on either disability benefits or eke out a livelihood in low value-added work in the informal economy with support from their family.

"With the setting up of this unit, support will be made available to job-seekers with disabilities," he added.

The special unit can be reached at 07-2266618.

Meme said the move by Johor in setting up the unit was a major first step since Malaysia become a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in April last year.

"People with disabilities in this country should no longer be treated as passive recipients of assistance or as a burden to society, but rather as active contributors to society to achieve the goals of development for all," she said.

Meme hoped other states would also follow suit and set up similar units to assist people with disabilities.

Sources: NST Online

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Municipal council to provide facilities for disabled in SS15

I AM disabled and have just moved to Subang Jaya from Klang. I am living in SS15. I enjoy living in this area as it has facilities that I need such as banks and restaurants.

Most of the time, I venture out on my own using my wheelchair.

Sometimes, I face difficulties going to certain parts of SS15 because of the curbs, uneven roads and other obstructions.

Is the council planning to make SS15 disabled-friendly to cater to people like me?

Senior citizens will also benefit from the disabled-friendly facilities.

Lim Khiew Wheng

DATUK ADNAN: The commercial area of SS15 was the first phase of development in Subang Jaya that was carried out by Sime UEP at the end of the 1970s.

It is undeniable that in the development plans put forward before 2000, there was no emphasis on the needs and facilities for the disabled.

However, after 2000, the Selangor Town and Country Planning Department, through the Local Agenda 21 programme, stated that the needs and facilities of the disabled must be taken into consideration.

This is stipulated in the development guidelines prepared by the Peninsular Malaysia Town and Country Planning Department.

In the guidelines, the facilities that have to be provided for the disabled include car parks, ramps for wheelchairs in commercial buildings, recreational parks, offices and high-rise residential buildings, as well as disabled-friendly toilets and lifts.

These facilities are stated in the development consent which developers have to adhere to.

In the case of older developed areas such as SS15, the council has identified disabled-friendly facilities that can be provided or upgraded.

These include disabled-friendly facilities at bus stops, pedestrian crossings and walkways from carparks to business premises.

At the moment, we are working with public transport concessionaires, such as Rapid KL and Metro, to build disabled-friendly facilities at existing bus stops to make it easier for the disabled to board buses.

The council is deeply concerned with facilities for the disabled. In 2007, we won the Building and Facilities For The Disabled Award in the government buildings category.

Source: Street, NST Online

Thursday, October 8, 2009


A call for assistance for the special needs of persons with disabilities from Tahanan Walang Hagdanan. Aside from food and water, residents and other persons with disabilities taking refuge at Tahanan Walang Hagdanan have other needs that others may not know of. There is a need for manpower from able-bodied citizen to reach areas unreachable by those who are in wheelchair. The entire work area and all the tools in them are all damaged. The source of livelihood of TWH is compromised. Others develop athletes foot, PWDs develop additional pressure sores. Catheters rendered useless predispose to urinary tract infection.

Even before the devastation brought by typhoon Ondoy, there is always a certain degree of struggle in every day life. But they are all survivors. An impressive trait shared by everyone is their resiliency. With your help they can get up again.

As per requested by TWH, they need the following:
Antibiotics for UTI, Povidone iodine, Hydrogen peroxide, Alcohol, Paracetamol for adults and children, Meds for cough, colds, fever and diarrhea, Asthma meds, Hypertension and diabetes meds, Oral rehydration solution, Indwelling and straight urinary catheters (French 16, 18, 20), Urine bags, Cotton, Adult diapers, Gauze/bandages, Micropores, Sterile and/ or examination gloves, Water based gel

Other needs:
Mattresses, Blankets, Pillows, Towels, Toiletries, Toothbrush, toothpaste, Bath and laundry soap, Disinfectants, Mops, scrubs, Rubber mops, Pails

Cleaners, Plumbers, Electricians, those who can fix their livelihood equipment like mig welding machine, pipe bender, compressor, torno and lathe machine, master sander, router, circular saw, woodwork machineries, etc.

You can channel your donations through Life Haven. Please click here.
or direct to Tahanang Walang Hagdanan
175 Aida St., Marick Subd., Cainta, Rizal
Tel #: 6650055/ 6650059/ 6554580/ 6550812
Joy Garcia (Gen. Mgr.) 09189447922
Virgie Montilla (Admin Director) 09206260710

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


* 要聞* 中馬* 地方

2009-09-30 20:24



她說,這項為期3天的活動,是由雪蘭莪殘障自立協會、美門殘障基金會及研發輪椅製造的D to D服務有限公司聯辦,用意是提高公眾對殘障人士設施的醒覺,及鼓勵更多殘障朋友融入社區生活。








負責全程電動輪椅技術問題的D to D服務有限公司代表陳錦玉說,有關輪椅在遊行時將以高速前進,但輪椅的時速是0―12公里,加上交通法令限制,所以輪椅不能駛上高速大道,活動全由舊路線開跑。















Guidelines for toilets for the disabled


THE Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) has come up with design guidelines for toilets meant for the disabled.

According to a statement issued by the MBPJ public relations department, the guidelines were prepared as a result of a site visit by the MBPJ Disabled Technical Committee to several old folk’s and handicapped children’s homes in Petaling Jaya.

The committee had discovered that the toilet facilities provided by many of these homes did not comply with the specifications set by the Standards and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia (Sirim).

Among the problems identified were that the size of the toilets were too small, there were no hand rails, the toilet bowls were too high or too low and some cubicles were not equipped with emergency alarms.

The MBPJ guidelines were drafted according to the exist­­ing Malaysian Standard (MS 1184 : 2002) - Code of Practice on Access for Disabled Persons to Public Buildings by Sirim, the Guidelines on Buildings Requirements For Disabled Persons and overseas design samples.

The design requirements for the toilets are:

·The size of the toilets should be at least 4.5 sq metres and the minimum size should be 2.13m by 2.13m;

·Toilet doors should be at least 900mm in width;

·Toilet seats should be 475mm from the floor;

·Wall mirror should be 1.15m from the floor and at a slant of between 5° and 10° (this requirement is not mentioned in the MS 1184 guideline)

·Hand rails by the toilet seat should be at 800mm from the floor and should be adjustable;

·Door handles must be 500m from the floor and the length of the handles should be 900m and fixed at the edge of the door;

·Emergency alarms must be fitted, with one emergency cord next to the toilet seat and one by the sink, an emergency siren and light beacon fitted inside of the toilet;

·Tissue holders should be next to the toilet seat, at a distance of 500mm

Related Stories:
The woes of the disabled

Source: The Star

The woes of the disabled


IT takes K. Bathmavathi some time to manoeuvre herself out of her car with some assistance and she is used to this. But what she dreads is going round and round looking for a parking bay designated for the disabled.

“Time is wasted looking for a place to park and it is frustrating to find that others are using lots meant for the disabled.

Bathmavathi, wheelchair-bound since 19, said life was tough as very little was being done for people like her.

StarMetro went along with her recently and saw just how bad facilities for the disabled are.

Dangerous: A disabled person using the road to get about as the kerb is just too high to go over.

Some had been vandalised while others were not done in accordance to the needs of a disabled person.

Even going to the banks is a problem as the buildings are not disabled-friendly - with high entrances and some without ramps.

So how do they do their banking?

“We usually wave from outside the glass door and if the security guard notices, he will come over and help carry the wheelchair up the kerb or stairs,” said Thomas Yeo.

When going out with friends, Yeo who uses a motorised wheelchair, said he could only go to a few cafes or restaurants in SS2 as not all were disabled friendly.

“Every shop has its own design and it is like travelling on a rocky road,

Not disabled-friendly: A wheelchair-bound person needs help to access buildings like this one.

“Our wheelchairs cannot go up a kerb and it is not easy to push yourself up without assistance,” said Yeo, who lives with some friends at the Beautiful Gate Foundation Petaling Jaya Centre in SS2.

He said the journey home was also a scary one at night when cars speed past without noticing them.

He added that most of them had an emergency light attached to them or wearfluorescent vests to be noticed.

While the council has allocated parking lots for the disabled, extra space would help as they need this to get out with their wheelchairs.

StarMetro found only certain areas had allocated parking lots for the disabled but the signages had been vandalised.

The residents would be compiling a list of recommendations that the council could look into implementing to make the city a disabled-friendly city.

“We will compile a list and send it to the mayor so that he could look into it and make the necessary changes,” said Bathmavathi who is also in the sub-committee for the All Petaling Jaya Residents’ Asso­cia­tion Coalition (APAC) as well as the Association of Women with Disabi­lities Malaysia.

Razali Adom, who lives in Taman Medan, said disabled people were always looking for places to meet with their friends, sometimes for small gatherings.

“Having to organise such events in community halls is difficult as most are not disabled-friendly.

“Sometimes we want to hold gatherings with friends in larger areas but this is a problem. We have no choice but to hold this events in our houses where we are more comfortable,” said Razali who is also a member of the Malaysian Spinal Injuries Association.

Sam Foong said she only obtained her driving licence recently and realised that getting around on her own was much easier in the city.

However, just like the rest, Foong hopes the council would make available better public facilities for the disabled as they, too, want to move around and enjoy various activities like everyone else.

During a recent council fullboard meeting, PJ mayor Datuk Roslan Sakiman said all building plans would have to comply with the MS1184:2002 code of practice of Access for the Disabled People Outside Buildings and urged the departments involved to look into planning guidelines for disabled facilities.

He said several aspects that the council would be looking into seriously were the accessibility of ramps, connectivity, tactile and guilding block, lift, railings, pedestrian crossing, hand rails, grab bars, toilets and signages.

Sources: The Star

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Hopes and Joys Merdeka Charity Concert

Hopes and Joys Merdeka Charity Concert

August 1 09, Saturday, MBPJ Auditorium, Civic Centre

Hopes & Joys Merdeka Charity Concert

Beautiful Gate Foundation for the Disabled (PJ Centre) co-organised a charity concert with the Council of Churches Malaysia, Rukun Tetangga SS2B, the offices of YB Edward Lee, YB Lau Weng San and my office.

The Beautiful Gate performing arts troupe demonstrated their skills in well-rehearsed routines
Sources: Dr Cheah Wing Yin's Blog (ADUN Damansara Utama)

Hopes & Joys Merdeka Charity Concert

Hopes and Joys Merdeka Charity Concert
August 1 09, Saturday, MBPJ Auditorium, Civic Centre

Hopes & Joys Merdeka Charity Concert

Beautiful Gate Foundation for the Disabled (PJ Centre) co-organised a charity concert with the Council of Churches Malaysia, Rukun Tetangga SS2B, the offices of YB Edward Lee, YB Lau Weng San and the office of our ADUN YB Dr. Cheah Wing Ying

Sources: Rukun Tetangga SS2B's Blog

Friday, July 31, 2009

Freewheeling dance style


SIMPLY captivating. This best summed up the dance performances by a group of wheelchair-bound persons with their able-bodied partners in a fund-raising concert in Penang.

It was also a night of fun for the 33 disabled persons on wheelchairs as they ‘danced’ and swayed to the rhythmic beats of the songs with their partners at the event held at the Jit Sin Independent High School in Bukit Mertajam.

The audience clapped along as the performers captivated them with creative dance movements that were specially choreographed for wheelchair-bound persons to perform with able-bodied partners.

Themed ‘Creativity Beyond Limitations’, the three-hour long concert was pre- sented by members of the Beautiful Gate Foundation For the Disabled (BGF).

The dancers performing from their wheelchairs.

BGF executive director Sia Siew Chin said the show was aimed at creating awareness that disabled persons on wheelchairs were part of the nation’s rich multi-cultural society.

In the show’s first segment, BGF presented a cultural dance showcasing eight disabled boys and girls on wheelchairs together with their partners in matching traditional costumes.

Next was a segment called Joyfulness in Life where nine disabled persons and their accompanying volunteers performed a dance skit to the upbeat numbers Macarena and YMCA.

During this item, one of the disabled persons suddenly fell off the wheelchair and struggled to get back on it.

Rock and roll: BGF members show that onw can have fund and style even on a wheelchair.

“This skit is to depict the difficulties that disabled persons have to face in life.

“But, with perseverance and determi-nation, they can succeed in the end,” Sia explained.

Subsequently, four disabled persons on wheelchairs and volunteers participated in separate ballroom dance items, namely the rock & roll, samba, rumba and cha-cha.

“This item is to showcase that disabled persons can also live together and enjoy life with other able-bodied persons,” Sia said.

Four children, aged between seven and 14 years, later took part in a disabled children’s wheelchair dance presentation, where they used sign language to relate heartfelt messages through two Mandarin songs.

And, after visually impaired singer Daniel Yap belted out three melodious Hokkien numbers, the BGF Performing Arts Troupe members regrouped for the finale where they invited the audience to join them in a freestyle dance.

Earlier, pastor Lee Lip Hock from the Bukit Mertajam Chinese Methodist Church (BMCMC) presented a cheque for RM153,039 that was raised from the concert’s ticket sales and sponsorship to Sia. BMCMC was the event co-organiser.

“We will use the money to buy teaching aid and as well as equipment and amenities for disabled youths at our BGF Kampar Centre in Ipoh, Perak,” said Sia.

Also present was State Youth, Sports, Women, Family and Community Deve-lopment Committee chairman Lydia Ong Kok Fooi.

For details on BGF, visit their website at

Sources: The Star

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Eco-enzyme Workshop

Eco-Enzyme workshop saturday 11 july 09

Residents of SS2B were shown how we can help preserve earth's resources by converting our kitchen fruit and vegetable wastes into useful enzymes with multiple house-hold applications.

This is a joint project between Beautiful Gate and MBPJ LA21 and, in our area put together by RT SS2B. ADUN Dr. Cheah Wing Yin was present. Ms Sia Siew Chin of Beautiful Gate was the MC for this session.

The residents showed keen interest and there was a lively Q and A session.
After the workshop the partcipants were served nasi lemak and tea, and were given leaflets and a 300ml sample of eco-enzymes. Overall, it was a fruitful morning.

What a beautiful way to start saturday morning! Watch out for further news on forthcoming events. Have a nice weekend!!

Sources: Rukun Tetangga SS2B Blog

Friday, June 19, 2009

How to start reducing waste production from home

IF EVERYONE took a small step to start reducing waste production from home, that huge sum of money could be used for better social and physical developments.

A simple way to do so is to make your own eco enzyme that acts as an effective cleaning agent, replacing soaps and detergents made of chemicals that pollute underground water, then rivers, and eventually the entire ecology.

This eco enzyme is simply made from water, brown sugar and unwanted fruit peels or vegetable dregs before being evenly mixed and fermented for three months. This “wonder” enzyme can then be used as a detergent, dish cleanser, natural antiseptic, air freshener and even for pet care and pest control.

Well, you can learn how to do just that from the Justlife Group at a public demonstration on Saturday, June 20th at The Star’s Studio V in the 1 Utama Shopping Centre. The company together with the Beautiful Gate Foundation will be conducting the demonstration from 11am to 1pm. This is part of The Star’s efforts under the “Go Green, Live Green 2009” Campaign.

The first 100 people to come for the demonstration will each take home a complimentary bottle of eco enzyme. Registration starts at 10.30am so be there and do your bit for the environment! Admission is but is limited to 100 pax on first-come-first-serve basis.

Sources: The Star

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chance to learn how to make eco-enzyme

Organic waste such as fruit peels and vegetable dregs can be put to good use, simply by turning them into eco-enzyme with the fermentation process.

Eco-enzyme acts as an effective cleaning agent that can replace soaps and detergents that are harmful to the ecosystem.

If you have missed The Star’s Green Day Celebration two weeks ago, here’s another opportunity for you to learn how to make eco-enzyme at home.

Natural cleanser: Dr Joean Oon who specialises in naturalpedic demonstrating the use of ecoenzyme to clean vegetables.

Beautiful Gate Foundation for the Disabled and Justlife organic products chain will show you the making process on June 20 from, 11am to 1pm at Studio V, 1 Utama Shopping Centre.

The organisations have also prepared 100 bottles of eco-enzyme to be given away on a first-come-first-served basis.

It is learned that eco-enzyme can be used as detergent, dish cleanser, natural antiseptic, air freshener and even for pet care and pest control.

It can significantly reduce waste produced from our kitchens, too.

Sources: The Star

Lift for wheelchair-bound MPs and visitors ready

THE Parliament building is now friendlier to wheelchair-bound MPs and visitors as its special lift is ready for use.

Chief Administrator Datuk Kamaruddin Mohamad Baria said: “Disabled visitors can now park their cars at the back of the Parliament building, wheel down a low-gradient ramp, which is covered with anti-slippery mat, to get to the back entrance of the Parliament. Then they can take the lift up.”

Convenience: Norizan trying out the lift for the disabled at the parliament building yesterday.

He said the proposal was to accommodate wheelchair-bound MPs like veteran DAP MP Karpal Singh and other visitors.

Wheelchair-bound Norizan Kasbi was pleasantly surprised when he saw the lift during a visit to Parliament yesterday.

The former Johor Umno Youth information chief was the first disabled person to use the lift.

“This is thoughtful of the Parliament administration,” said Norizan, 47, who became paralysed after a road accident in Sabah in 1999.

Sources: The Star

Monday, June 15, 2009

The disabled just want to live life well

YOUTH and Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said handicapped people should not be referred to as “disabled” but “people with special ability” (“Disabled people have special abilities” – The Star, June 13).

As a person living with a spinal cord injury and tetraplegia, I respectfully disagree with him in this matter. For the lack of better terms, I would prefer that we stick to “disabled people,” not even “people with disabilities”.

The term “people with disabilities” puts the burden of the problem on the person.

“Disabled people”, on the other hand, describes people whose interaction in society is limited by environmental and attitudinal barriers. We are disabled by these factors which when removed also removes the disability.

Our collective desire to play an active part in society is severely hampered by the multitude of barriers that we face at every turn of our lives.

Referring to the minister’s statement that many of us are not “disabled” because we have special qualities that sometimes non-disabled people cannot even match, I would like to point out that not every disabled person can achieve such feats, nor do we desire to be super achievers of such calibre.

Likewise, not all non-disabled persons want to scale Mount Everest, swim across the English Channel or are able to sprint 100 meters in under 10 seconds.

Most disabled people want to lead ordinary, but meaningful, lives just like everyone else. Even this simple desire can be difficult to be realised for some.

The Government should spend more time resolving the outstanding issues, especially accessibility in the built environment and public transport faced by the majority of disabled people, instead of coining terms that do nothing to empower us.

What is the point of being called “people with special ability” when we cannot even get out from our homes safely because the environment around where we live is inaccessible?

Does it matter to us if the minister wants to use a supposedly more positive term to refer to us when we cannot even use public transport to move around conveniently?

We cannot escape from the fact that no matter what positive phrases are used, disabled people are still the most marginalised community in the country.

The Government should seriously work towards improving the quality of life of disabled people by removing barriers and providing relevant social support where required.

Sources: The Star


Kuala Lumpur.

Monday, June 8, 2009

饥饿 30-Hour Famine 2009 officially launched!

The 30-Hour Famine 2009 Ambassador 饥饿30爱心大使 - A-Mei, 张惠妹, was in town recently to show her support to the campaign. She spent almost 2 days in KL to officiate the Press Conference and took time off her busy schedule to be with the residents of Beautiful Gate, who is one of the beneficiaries of this year’s Famine.

More pictures in our Facebook page. Join us as a fan today for regular updates!

Together to grace the Press Conference were 30-Hour Famine Advocates, TV and radio personalities - Belinda, Gary, Roshan and Nicholas as well as our co-organizers, media partners and sponsors. We at World Vision Malaysia extends our gratitudes for your support and hopes the 30-Hour Famine now takes off to reach RM1million we aspires to raise this year in focus of Global Food Crisis.

We would like to thank members of the media for the coverage given in support of this campaign. We hope through these highlights, more Malaysian would be inspired to be a part of the cause we advocate for and join us in making a difference! Here are some of the news..

Tags: 30 Hour Famine, A-Mei, Beautiful Gates, Belinda Chee, famine, food crisis, Gary Yap, media, Nicholas Ong, press conference, Roshan, 张惠妹, 阿妹, 饥饿 30

Sources: World Vision Blog

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Better use for your waste


DO YOU know that local councils in Malaysia are paying 40% to 70% of its annual access tax for rubbish disposal?

That is to say, a large chunk of your money has to be used to deal with rubbish. And, if everyone takes that small step to start reducing waste production from home, we can put that whopping sum for better social and physical developments.

A simple way to do so is to make your own eco enzyme that acts as an effective cleaning agent, replacing soaps and detergents made of chemicals that pollute underground water, then rivers, and eventually the entire ecology.

You can learn how to do that from the Justlife Group at The Star’s Green Day Celebration 2009 slated for this Sunday from 8am to 3pm at the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), Kepong.

This is how we do it: Low showing a Star employee how to make eco enzyme at home.

The company, Beautiful Gate Foundation for the Disabled and Section 19 Petaling Jaya Residents’ Association, with the support of Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and Danish International Development Assistance (Danida), have embarked on a project promoting the use of eco enzyme.

It will also conduct an “Earth-Saving Diet” presentation from 10am to 11am on that day.

“Just remember the 1:3:10 proportion. To make the eco enzyme, prepare one portion of brown sugar, three portions of fruit peels or vegetable dregs in relation to 10 portions of water and put them all into an air-tight container,” the company’s communication executive Connie Low said during a demonstration held at The Star’s headquarters recently.

The evenly mixed contents are then left for fermentation over three months. The cover has to be opened once everyday during the first month to release gas.

According to Low, eco enzyme can be used as detergent, dish cleanser, natural antiseptic, air freshener and even for pet care and pest control.

“It can significantly reduce waste produced from our kitchens,” she said.

Technical advisor Dr Theng Lee Chong from Danida also gave some insight on the country’s solid waste management.

He said even though recycling efforts in Malaysia had beefed up over the past few years, more could be done for the ailing planet.

The Star’s Green Day Celebration 2009 to take place mainly at the FRIM football field will be abuzz with activities to spread the message of ‘’Go Green, Live Green”, the theme this year.

There will be guided nature trails, canopy walks and tree climbing demonstrations conducted by the Malaysian Nature Society and FRIM.

BonusLink will run a variety of activities with sand art for children being among the highlights while Philips energy-saving bulbs will be given away at The Star booth on the day.

The Permanis Recycling Stop will give away Revive canned drinks for recycled newspapers, Skateline will show how to do in-line staking while WWF Malaysia will collect signatures in support of its ongoing turtle campaign.

The Drum Circle, BRATS and Kuntum will also be there to sizzle up the atmosphere. Suria FM and TV3 will provide live entertainment with prominent artistes Malaysian Idol Farah Asyikin and Fazli Zainal and Akademi Fantasia artiste Aizat taking the stage.

As for the RED FM’s Morning Breakfast Crew, it will be promoting its popular campaign “Shake Our Hands to Win 10 Grand with JD & Dilly!” at the venue.

Better still, there’s a Car Boot Sale for you to do some shopping. FRIM has taken up six cars while the others had been made available to the public. Interested parties can contact 03-6279 7591/ 7577 (Hazlin/ Salmah) to register.

The event is open to the public free of charge. Visitors are encouraged to take public transport as parking bays are limited, and do come wearing green to show your love for Mother Nature.

Sources: The Star

Saturday, May 30, 2009

"Live Free" Concert

"Live Free" Concert

Life Haven is a non-profit organization of persons with disabilities (PWD), duly registered with the SEC, guided by the Independent Living (IL) Philosophy and a frontrunner of the Independent Living Movement in the Philippines. We are working towards the empowerment of persons with disabilities with the goals of restoring self-respect, improving self-confidence, and promoting active participation on issues concerning the society to which we belong. It is our belief that persons with different types of disabilities will benefit from the Independent Living Movement, hence our cross-disability approach.

As part of our mission to provide continuous services to PWD, a fundraising concert entitled “Live Free” will be held on May 30, 2009 at Crossroad 77. Proceeds of this event will be used to support our activities, sustain the services that we provide, and assist the Association of People with Disabilities-Sta. Rosa (APD-SR) in their IL-related programs. The concert will have as its main performer, the Beautiful Gate Performance Art Troupe from Malaysia. The “Live Free” concert will also showcase the talents of Tahanang Walang Hagdan Ballroom Dancers on Wheelchairs and Bahay Mapagmahal Rondalla on Wheels as well as invited mainstream bands supportive of our cause. We are expecting an audience of at least 1,000. We have enlisted support from broadcast (ABS-CBN,,, print, and online ( and media for ad strings and promotions.

BG Arts Troupe

Beautiful Gate Performance Art Troupe

Beautiful gate was awarded the Malaysia Book of Records for the largest participants in a wheelchair performance in the year 2000. We also represented Malaysia in the International Cultural & Arts for the Disabled.

Out of the love for the performing Arts, we manage to take up performing tour to Thailand, Singapore, Sabah,Sarawak, and all major cities in west Malaysia. All 14 states of Malaysia, we had been for charity performance.

Beautiful Gate Disabled Performing Arts Troupe was launched by Deputy Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Fu Ah Kiow on August 13, 2003. It consists of 25 disabled performers and 5 volunteers.

We believes that disabilities do not prevent experiencing in beauty of arts, and aspired to bring to the disabled community, despite their disabilities, an aspiration to experience the beauty of Arts in this era.

Beautiful Gate hopes to provide an opportunity to the disabled community the joy of Performing Arts and allow it to be the media of communication with the society. It hopes to offer the disabled a future and hope of their own beside being an element of motivation of life to the able-body.

Objectives of Beautiful Gate Performing Arts Troupe are as follow:
  • To demonstrate the determination of learning and self development of persons with disabilities and transmit the message of determination effort to the public.
  • To increase accessibility, interest and understanding of the potential of people with disabilities.
  • To create job opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
  • To integrate people with disabilities with society .
  • To promote the greatness of loving and caring spirit

We have traditional dance, Ballroom dance, Modern dance, Hip Hop, Drama, Solo, and other media suitable for different tastes of varied audience.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Beautiful Gate Concert at Summit

Enjoyable evening at Summit with Beautiful Gate Concert.

Fantastic show portraying great skills and wonderful costumes.

Sponsored by Lions club KL.

Sources: Rukun Tetangga SS2B's Blog

Monday, May 11, 2009

Gift of love for disabled

Monday, May 11th, 2009 04:51:00


PERKOBP president Peter Phang with Koh at a workshop

TWO associations aimed at developing opportunities for the physically and mentally challenged received RM18,000 from Cerebos as part of BRAND’s ‘Gift of Love’ campaign.

Beautiful Gate Foundation for the Disabled and Pertubuhan Keluarga Orang-Orang Bermasalah Pemberlajaran (PERKOBP) received financial support from Cerebos to help them train and develop opportunities for the disabled. The money will go into a building fund for PERKOBP’s new premises that they are hoping to move into in a year or two.

“We firmly believe in nourishing the minds of those who are keen to learn but often not in the position to do so due to circumstances. We hope that the beneficiaries will be able to develop the necessary skills to lead independent lives,” said Koh Joo Siang, general manager of Cerebos Sdn Bhd.

Executive director of Beautiful Gate Foundation, Sia Siew Chin said the disabled, who are often seen as a burden to their families, are always seeking opportunities to be treated fairly and equally and to be productive members of the community.

For more information about the two organisations, visit or

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Out of touch


Do the authorities really understand the needs of the disabled?

HAVE you had one of those mornings when you wake up and the first thing that you read in the newspapers is a really silly remark that is bound to get everyone upset?

Well, last week was one such occasion.

A front-page story in a local newspaper on April 22 quoted the Welfare Department as saying that Malaysians with disabilities who come under the very poor category wanting aid of RM150 a month won’t be qualified to get it if they have Astro.

The guideline is said to apply even for someone who lives in another person’s house, whether temporarily or otherwise.

In other words, those who came up with such a ruling seem to think that the disabled who can afford pay TV are not poor. And, according to them, welfare aid should only be given to those requiring food, clothing and shelter, and certainly never for entertainment.

This reminds me of a similar situation a few weeks ago that had disabled dog owners howling in protest.

A local council decided against giving disabled residents free dog licences. The reason for doing so was purportedly to “teach the handicapped about the need for administration costs”.

They reckoned that if a disabled person can keep a dog, why can’t he pay RM10 a year?

It makes me wonder how truly in touch are the authorities with what people with disabilities go through daily in their lives, and especially in their homes which are often concealed from the public eye.

Take, for example, a man who became disabled following a car crash a few months ago, and is suffering from depression. Why would he want to learn about processing fees when he is thinking about ending his life?

Becoming paralysed for life is never an easy thing to accept. It is especially hard for those who have been very independent.

Not only does disability rob a person of his dignity to do things for himself, the situation often results in the disabled losing his job as well.

Despite the Welfare Department’s noble efforts in trying to help disabled Malaysians find jobs so that they can be self-sufficient, not many people want to hire the handicapped.

Many people are still bound by negative stereotypes about the disabled. Life is especially hard for the bedridden. Many of them hardly have any opportunity to go out.

Quite a few of them have no one strong enough to carry them out of their beds and back again.

They have to depend on others for everything. Their only “entertainment” is often to stare at the four walls of their room.

For those who have pets, these pets serve to divert them from their depression. By stroking and bonding with their pets, the disabled receive unconditional love and acceptance.

In the area of entertainment, Astro offers the disabled a window to the outside world and keeps them updated on what is happening around the world.

It is important for disabled Malaysians who are locked inside their homes to realise they are not alone in their struggles.

I have watched health shows which offer the latest information on all types of disabilities. Such information is helpful to the handicapped.

Watching how others cope with their disabilities and live positive lives in other countries, helps motivate people with handicaps in our country.

Even the blind “watch” TV. I know many who tune in daily to international news channels on pay TV to keep abreast of news-breaking events around the world.

Isn’t access to information and education also a basic human right? Would the Welfare Department stop aid for disabled people with computers and Internet access as well?

Something is obviously very wrong with the guideline. Instead of appearing to crack down on the helpless disabled poor, the Welfare Department should really be working hard to help all disabled persons in Malaysia to have such facilities.

The department should engage in talks with Astro to provide free subscription to the disabled as part of the company’s social responsibility.

On the day that the article came out, about 20 disabled people in wheelchairs – including me – met up with Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalilf.

She promised us that she would look into the matter and come up with realistic solutions to our problems.

Sources: The Star

Friday, April 17, 2009

An avenue to raise funds for the needy

GENTING’s annual community fund-raising event was launched by guest of honour Puan Sri Cecilia Lim – the wife of chairman and chief executive of Genting Berhad, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay at the First World Plaza on April 10.

A total of 11 charity organisations were invited to exhibit their home and fund-raising items at First World Plaza for three consecutive weekends, on April 11-12, April 18-19 and April 25-26.

This year 11 charity organisations will be taking up booths at the specially set-up exhibition area at First World Plaza. The organisations are Rumah Amal Cheshire Selangor, Mouth & Foot Painting Artists Sdn Bhd, Salaam Wanita, Rumah Orang Asli Che Wong, Women’s Aid Organisation and International Relief Organisation, Pusat Jagaan Insan Istimewa, Pusat Majudiri Y for the Deaf, The Truly Loving Company, Malaysian Association for the Blind and Beautiful Gate Foundation for the Disabled.

Also present at the launching ceremony were Resorts World Bhd chief operating officer Thuy Trinh, senior vice-president of PR & Communi-cations Datuk Anthony Yeo, senior vice-president of hotel operations Edward Holloway, vice-president of PR & Commu-nications Katherine Chew and other management staff.

Quaint: Cecilia Lim (second from left) looking at some of the rattan baskets on display at one of the booths set up at the exhibition area at First World Plaza.

The guest of honour was greeted by an opening dance specially performed by the residents from Rumah Orang Asli Che Wong from Lanchang, Pahang.

“The fund-raising is organised with the hope that we can help these homes and organisations by creating awareness among the public about the less privileged. In addition, we also hope the public will buy the handmade items,” said Yeo.

Among the attractions are hand woven baskets, bracelets, rings and plates by the Che Wong orang asli community, books on deaf sign language, key chains, bookmarks from the Pusat Majudiri Y for the Deaf, rattan basket making demonstration and sale at the Malaysia Blind Association’s booth, home care products at the Truly Loving Company booth, souvenir items at the International Relief centre and Pusat Jagaan Insan Istimewa, handmade stuffed dolls and jewellery at the Cheshire Home’s booth, specially woven baskets and bags made of magazine papers from Salaam Wanita and paintings by Ng Ah Kwai at the mouth and foot artists section.

Genting – City Of Entertainment invites all Malaysians to come to the hilltop resort and support these charity bodies in their effort to raise funds for the poor and the underprivileged.

Sources: The Star

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Have a heart


Disabled and elderly dog owners are upset by MBPJ’s decision not to waive the dog licence fee.

APRIL 1 turned out to be a disappointing day for pet lovers. It was reported in the newspapers that the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), in a majority decision, had chosen not to grant free dog licences to handicapped and elderly residents.

A proposal was put forward to the council to offer a full fee waiver for disabled pet lovers, and a 50% discount for all elderly persons in PJ.

(Currently dog owners in PJ pay RM10 annually for their pets. Only the Shah Alam City Council offers such relief to the disabled and elderly.)

The proposal was meant to offer some relief and support for persons whose pets play an integral role in their lives. The proposal came from handicapped and elderly members of Petpositive, an animal-assisted therapy society where I serve as president.

It has the backing of several disability and animal NGOs, namely, the Independent Living and Training Centre in Rawang, Selangor, the Malaysian Parkinson’s Disease Association in Kuala Lumpur, and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Selangor.

The move raises an important question about how local councils operate. When decisions that affect the lives of disabled persons are made, do our local governments ensure that they consult the disabled before they give the go-ahead?

And in this particular situation, not just any disabled person but the handicapped and the elderly who are receiving animal-assisted therapy.

Dogs possess an uncanny ability to help the disabled to lead positive lives. In so doing, the handicapped are able to achieve a better quality of life. This has been proven by medical experts and researchers.

Do those who make such decisions take the trouble to visit the homes of individuals with disabilities to see these wonderful canines in action?

Do decision-makers know what it’s like to be in a wheelchair? Or what it’s like to soil their pants because they have a weak bladder or poor bowel control (or both) as a result of an accident or illness?

As for the able-bodied who have dogs, are they dependent on their pets for therapy the way people in wheelchairs, the blind and the deaf are?

Take, for example, wheelchair users Sue Chen and her husband who own two dogs which they regard as their children. They don’t make much money so they have to share what’s on their table when they dine, with their pets.

“Every sen counts,” said the couple. “Besides, it would save us the hassle of travelling to the local authorities’ office and joining the long queues just to get our licences renewed.

“The taxi fare to the local council and back is almost three times the cost of the licence. Having our dogs greet us in the morning and follow us everywhere gives us a sense of acceptance, belonging and security,” they explained.

JK is another example of how animal-assisted therapy can make a difference. He was bedridden recently following an accident and now spends his time looking at the four walls of his room. His only pal is a puppy that was introduced to him recently.

The puppy is doing wonders for JK; he is starting to focus on his new friend instead of dwelling on his misery.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our respective councils could show some care and compassion by appreciating the special role of canines, and be mindful of the hardships the disabled face?

Sources: The Star

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Wonder cleaner


Enthusiasts claim that garbage enzyme works its magic indoors and outdoors. But not everyone is convinced of its benefits.

IT IS every housewife’s dream – a multipurpose cleaner that is all-natural, environment- friendly, non-toxic, free of synthetic chemicals and best of all, can be made from kitchen scraps.

Sounds too good to be true, right? But many who have made and used this cleaner swear by it. Making this wonder cleaner merely involves fermenting kitchen waste with brown sugar and water for three months. The resulting brown, vinegary solution is commonly called garbage enzyme and is diluted with water for use – and it appears to be able to work miracles.

Testimonies on its uses appear endless: to do the dishes and laundry, mop the floor, scrub the toilet and bathroom, remove stubborn stains, for body care, as deodoriser and antiseptic and to clear blockages in pipes and drains. It will even repel ants, mosquitoes, cockroaches, lizards.

Using citrus fruit waste will lend a pleasant scent to the garbage enzyme.

In farms, garbage enzymes have found use as a natural pesticide, herbicide, fertiliser and odour remover, and is also added to animal feed to improve digestion of livestock. And in the garden, it will make your plants flourish, bloom and fruit. Prisca Loke can testify to that. “Because of my busy schedule, I never had time to take care of my plants and they looked horrible. But after I sprayed them with garbage enzymes, they grew lush and started flowering. That converted me into a garbage enzyme user,” says the assistant human resource manager.

Loke now relies on garbage enzymes for many of her household chores. She finds it effective in removing grease from pots and pans and kitchen counters, as well as stubborn stains from her children’s white school shirts (she soaks them in diluted enzyme solution before the normal laundering).

Most of what she knows is from experimenting and sharing experience with friends.

“I could not find any scientific analysis on the enzyme on the Internet but from my personal experience and talking with friends, I find that the enzyme is useful.”

She has tried fermenting different fruit wastes since all will produce different enzymes, and some might be more effective for certain tasks than others. Ever willing to share her knowledge, Loke has given demonstrations on enzyme-making to her colleagues at Sunrise Bhd and residents of Sunrise Mont Kiara in Kuala Lumpur.

Enzyme evangelists

Dr Joean Oon uses diluted enzyme solution to clean vegetables.

Poultry seller Tan Yew Leong has also turned enzyme-advocate after seeing how it has reduced foul odours emanating from the Section 17 market in Petaling Jaya, Selangor .

“The market used to smell as the council only cleans it once a week or once a month by spraying water. Since we started spraying the enzyme (diluted with water) daily, it is not so smelly and there are fewer flies. The drains are also cleaner,” says Tan who has been making full use of vegetable and fruit discards at the market.

His home is filled with about 100 tanks, both big and small, of fermenting waste.

“Some other hawkers are also making the enzyme themselves after seeing its effectiveness,” says Tan, who provides free enzyme for cleansing of the market. He also sells the solution by the bottles but thinks it best that people make it themselves as they would reduce their waste.

Tan uses the enzyme liberally at home. “About 70% of the cleaning at home is now done using the enzyme, for mopping the floor and cleaning the toilets and bathroom. My family has reduced the use of chemicals and there are no more cockroaches in my house,” says the satisfied user.

The benefits of garbage enzymes is said to extend beyond the home. Apparently, when enzyme-laced wastewater flows down kitchen sinks and bathroom pipes, it supposedly continues to work its magic in drains, sewers and eventually, streams and rivers. This idea has spurred a project to get some 10,000 households in Petaling Jaya to produce their own garbage enzyme for home use.

The Danish-funded project by Section 19 Residents Association, Justlife (an organic food chain) and Beautiful Gate Foundation for the Disabled, will see enzyme-making demonstrations for residents’ associations and other community groups in the next five months. In Thailand, households’ use of garbage enzymes is said to have helped keep some streams clean.

“When people use the enzyme to clean dishes and do the laundry, the discharged water will finally end up in ponds and streams, so indirectly cleaning up the water bodies,” says Lee Lih Shyan, senior assistant director of the Local Agenda 21 programme at Petaling Jaya City Council. This approach benefits the environment more than that of pouring drums of garbage enzymes into ponds and rivers to cleanse the water bodies as practised by some communities in Penang. Lee says cleaning up ponds and rivers this way is an exercise in futility if pollution is not stemmed at the source.

“Such efforts will not be effective unless there is a group producing the enzyme in large quantities and continuously pouring it into the river. There is no point in doing it once or twice,” he says.

Where is the science

But exactly how and why this miraculous solution works is unclear. Even its advocates can’t quite explain the science behind it.

“There have been tests done but all the information is in Thai. I do not have the resources to get them translated into English or to research into how it works. And I’m not a chemist, so I don’t know how to explain it.

All I can say is that people have used it, and it works,” says Penang-based naturopathy practitioner Dr Joean Oon, Oon had learnt about garbage enzymes from its originator, Dr Rosukon Poompanvong, a pioneer of Thailand’s organic farming movement and a Food and Agriculture Organisation award recipient for her work in using fermented organic waste for crop fertilisation, pest protection and livestock feed.

Scientists spoken to say it is the microorganisms present in waste that produce the enzymes. The fermentation produces acetic acid, characterised by its vinegary smell, and it is the acid that gives the solution its cleaning prowess; vinegar, after all, is a traditional household cleaner.

The usefulness of enzymes has long been known. Enzymes act as catalysts – they increase the rates of chemical reactions.

In the human body, enzymes help in digestion and other bodily functions.

In wastewater treatment, enzymes accelerate decomposition of organic substances.

Enzymes have also found their way into commercial goods: in detergents, they improve the cleaning performance while in cleaning solutions, they eat away organic material that clog up pipes.

While the cleansing ability of garbage enzymes can be explained, claims on its other abilities seem pretty far-fetched – for instance, its role in repairing the ozone layer and in reducing global warming. Its proponents say ozone generated by the enzyme solution will bind with heavy metals in the air to reduce global warming. The ozone will also react with other elements such as nitrogen and sulphur to form nitrates and sulphates, which make good plant nutrients.

The science behind these claims, however, is sketchy. It does not help that the few documents available from Oon have been poorly translated into English from Thai. In Internet chat groups, some have censured the claims, especially the one about repairing the ozone hole. It is argued that ground-level ozone is unstable and will break into oxygen before it has any chance to migrate to the stratosphere (10 to 48km above sea level) to form the beneficial ozone layer that prevents harmful UV radiation from reaching the Earth.

Also, ground-level ozone (it results when nitrogen oxides and organic gases, emitted by automobiles and industrial sources, react with air) is a toxic gas and irritant, and causes smog. In recent technologies, ozone is used to disinfect water as well as sterilise air and certain foods but the amount of ozone produced in garbage enzymes is so low that it would have little effectiveness.

Possible toxins

Sewerage plants do rely on beneficial bacteria to break down waste but no one knows for sure if the flushing of garbage enzymes down the toilet, as advocated by its proponents, would not lead to ill effects in the long term.

Likewise, flooding lakes and rivers with enzymes might be harmful if too much is used – it might well deplete oxygen levels in the water due to higher organic matter. Also, the anaerobic fermentation involved (the enzyme is made in an air-tight container) will release methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Dr P. Agamuthu, a professor in waste management at Universiti Malaya, has questions too regardin g garbage enzyme. That the solution is beneficial for plants does not surprise him as it is rich in nutrients from the sugar.

However, he is wary about using the solution in the shower and to wash dishes and food. “Since it involves fermentation of waste, there might be pathogens in the mixture. In normal composting of solid waste which is water-free, temperatures can reach to 65°C to 70°C, and this will destroy most pathogens. Fermentation, however, will never reach this temperature, especially when water is added.”

He is uncertain if it is the enzymes, or other chemicals that are doing the job. To clear these doubts, Agamuthu intends to conduct his own tests with the enzyme to see what it contains and its effect on plants and soil.

Following the barrage of criticisms, Oon has decided to stop linking garbage enzymes with ozone depletion and global warming – but only because she is stumped when asked to explain the scien ce. She adds that she does not urge people to pour the enzymes into rivers to clean waterways – that was done initially just to create an activity and to promote public awareness.

Sincere in wanting to encourage green practices, she now expounds on only one aspect of garbage enzymes: “It makes good use of kitchen waste which would otherwise end up in landfills and generate methane, a potent greenhouse gas. It is something that housewives can do. And the enzyme also reduces our reliance on chemical cleaners, detergent and fertilisers.”

Ambiguities aside, the garbage enzyme movement has found quite a following and many attest to its efficacy. Still, until more tests are done on its contents and long-term effects, it might be wise to use it judiciously.

Sources: The Star

Monday, March 30, 2009

Help for the needy


More people will qualify for welfare aid under the Government’s Social Safety Net programme.

DURING an economic downturn, everyone feels the pinch, more so the poor or those living below the poverty line income.

According to the Economic Planning Unit, 16.5% of the Malaysian population lived in poverty in 1990. Twelve years later, in 2002, the rate dropped to 5.1% and last year, the poverty rate stood at 1.8%.

However, the actual number of poor people could well be higher, considering the high cost of living in urban areas and the current economic crisis.

A group of disabled people displaying their JKSM cards which act like identity cards, proof that the cardholder is on the social aid scheme.

One government mechanism that provides social support to the poor and needy is the Malaysia Social Safety Net or Jaringan Keselamatan Sosial Malaysia (JKSM) programme.

It involves various ministries and government agencies, including the Ministries of Health, Education, Housing and Local Government, Human Resources, Agriculture and Agrobased Industry, Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development, Rural and Regional Development, and, Women, Family and Community Development.

The social support given comes in various forms which include financial aid; food, fertiliser and fuel subsidies; free education, textbooks and uniforms; affordable hospital care and skills training.

Last year, a total of RM350mil was allocated to the Social Safety Net programme. This year, the amount has been raised to RM850mil.

Senior citizens above the age of 60 who are ill, not able to work and living in poor conditions are also eligible for the Government’s social welfare aid.

An important aspect of this social support is the Federal Welfare Aid given via the Social Welfare Department under the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry.

“My ministry is only one part of this whole scheme and we are very focused on the so-called non-productive groups. They include senior citizens aged above 60 who are ill, not able to work and living in poor conditions, children aged below 18 from poor family backgrounds, and the disabled.

“We are involved in giving basic financial support to such groups,” said Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.

On Feb 25, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi together with Dr Ng launched a revised Malaysia Social Safety Net programme and a new Social Safety Net Card (Kad JKSM).

Under this Safety Net programme, more people will qualify for welfare aid.

The new Malaysia Social Safety Net Card or Kad Jaringan Keselamatan Sosial Malaysia (JKSM) under the Social Welfare Department of Malaysia.

In previous years, welfare aid was given to the hardcore poor who, according to the Economic Planning Unit, are those with a household income of less than RM430 in Peninsular Malaysia, RM520 in Sarawak and RM540 in Sabah.

This year, the Ministry is extending aid to those with a household income of less than RM720 in Peninsular Malaysia, RM830 in Sarawak and RM960 in Sabah, or those living below the average poverty line income.

“From this year, we are extending the social safety net. This means that the number of people eligible for aid will double,” said Dr Ng.

“Last year, 150,000 people from about 50,000 families qualified for aid. This year, we expect at least 110,000 families to benefit.”

Dr Ng stressed that the poverty line income only serves as a guide or the initial entry point for eligibility of aid. Final approval will depend on investigations by welfare officers who will look into factors like the living condition of the families, the number of children and dependants, age of applicant or head of household, physical disability, and health conditions due to disease or illness.

This year, those who qualify for aid will also receive the new Kad JKSM, an electronic chip card which replaces the manila cards that people on welfare have been using since Independence.

“The card represents a new system of delivery to recognise eligible recipients. It is also (a tool) to create awareness about the welfare aid as we are determined to provide aid to those who are truly in need,” said Dr Ng.

“The card is like an identity card to prove that the cardholder is on the JKSM scheme. Later, we hope to link the card to public transportation systems and even outlets with special benefits for these groups of people.”

Each JKSM card is valid for a year and has to be reviewed annually.

“We do not want the poor to remain poor forever. We also want them to move out of poverty.”

To reach out to people in need of aid, the Social Welfare Depart­ment launched Projek Cari last October.

Under the project, 850 temporary welfare officers were hired for six months from October to go down to the ground and identify, register, investigate and speed up applications for the welfare scheme. These officers work in tandem with the existing 7,000 welfare officers in the country.

From Oct 1 to Jan 31, 70,000 new cases were identified, of which 25,000 have so far been approved. About 7,500 people did not qualify or pulled out, while the rest are still under investigation.

Projek Cari has proven its effectiveness. The aim of the project is to reach out to as many people as possible and to create awareness. It is ongoing until March 31, after which we will review it and see if we need to extend it,” said Dr Ng.

She hopes local leaders will help identify those in need and bring them to the department’s attention.

“I want to strengthen the whole welfare delivery system in Malaysia from the context of entry point, human resource and also the JKSM card as we move towards 2020,” she said.

Aid list

THE Federal Welfare Aid scheme under the Social Welfare Department offers:

> A general monthly allowance of RM80 per person, up to a maximum of RM350 per family, subject to a household income of below RM720 for Peninsular Malaysia, RM830 for Sarawak and RM960 for Sabah.

> RM300 a month for poor senior citizens aged above 60, subject to a household income of below RM720 for Peninsular Malaysia, RM830 for Sarawak and RM960 for Sabah.

> RM100 a month per child for families earning below RM720 in Peninsular Malaysia, RM830 in Sarawak and RM960 in Sabah. This aid is subject to a maximum of RM450 per family.

> RM300 supplementary work allowance a month for a disabled person who is working and earning below RM1,200 a month.

> RM300 a month for a non-working caregiver who looks after a debilitated/bedridden person at home. This is provided the family income is less than RM3,000 a month.

> From January this year, RM150 a month will also be given to a disabled person who is unemployed despite efforts to find a job.

To apply for welfare aid and the JKSM card, go to your nearest Social Welfare office or call the Ministry’s Talian Nur hotline at 15999.

Sources: The Star

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Stop the abuse of bays meant for disabled

Stop the abuse of bays meant for disabled

JUST the other day, I was at one of the biggest shopping malls in Klang. It was a crowded Sunday and also the last day of the school break.

What amazed me was that as I was walking in to catch a movie, I noticed that many cars were parked at lots reserved for the disabled.

And all these cars had no stickers indicating the owners were disabled.

I even noticed a man coming out from his car at a disabled person’s parking lot and coolly walking inside the mall.

He was not handicapped and he had a Polis Diraja Malaysia sticker and a Parliament sticker on his car. Also, he was wearing a T-shirt of a local telecommunications company which was having a promotion at the mall.

I’m very disappointed that the mall’s management did nothing to stop this from happening.

The Klang Municipal Council (MPK) should provide stickers for disabled people to stick on their cars and the regulations should be strictly enforced. Malls should clamp cars without such stickers but parked at a disabled person’s lot and those who defy such regulations in town areas should be issued with summonses.



Sources: The Star

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Looking for toilets


The search for a model disabled-friendly rest room yielded some interesting results.

I WAS involved in an unusual assignment a week ago. Together with another gentleman in a wheelchair, and accompanied by a team of experts from the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), our motley crew went out as “roving investigators” in Petaling Jaya.

We went to look at, of all things, toilets. And we were only interested in loos that were user-friendly for disabled and elderly individuals.

The purpose of our trip was to come up with a good prototype design of a restroom that would be user-friendly for the handicapped.

Our first stop was a well-known hotel. We oohed and aahed at most of the outfit’s disabled-friendly designs. The most impressive was the entry/exit door of the loo, which was an electronic one.

All a patron in a wheelchair needed to do was press a button with one finger and presto: it would open for him. Once inside, he has only to push another button. The door closes, offering him all the privacy he needs.

If only all other hotels in the country would follow the good example of the hotel we visited and provide electronic doors as well, it would make the lives of disabled and elderly persons much easier when they visit such outfits.

Even though posh hotels may have disabled-friendly loos, little attention is given to the doors. The doors are often so heavy that we have a hard time trying to open them.

Not everything was smooth-sailing during our assignment. Together with the good came the not-so-good.

We had a lesson on how important it was to train everyone to handle an emergency.

When we tried to get into the loo for the first time, it suddenly got locked and refused to open until 20 minutes later. None of the staff knew how to open the door.

They claimed the person in charge was not around. Fortunately, this was not a real emergency. We dreaded to think of what could have happened if a disabled person had fallen inside the loo and needed help.

It was disappointing too that the five-star hotel had a steep ramp at its entrance which disabled guests were forced to use to access the building.

The reserved parking lot for the disabled was located far from the entrance to the building.

The management promised to rectify the situation soonest possible.

Our journey also took us to Ikea and Ikano shopping centres in Mutiara Damansara.

No sooner had we arrived when we were greeted by smiling security guards at the generously-sized parking lots for the disabled. These people are so serious about their car parks for the handicapped that they clamp any unauthorised cars and make them pay a fine for abusing the facilities.

The money collected is donated to a local charity for the disabled.

I was shocked to hear about the reactions of some people who misuse the disabled parking bays. One or two of them even resorted to violence when their cars were clamped, I was told.

The majority, however, were apologetic when they realised the error of their ways.

As for the toilets, especially Ikea’s, I think they have close to the perfect one I’ve seen so far.

The toilet is spacious enough for a helper to accompany a disabled person. There’s an alarm bell (panic button) in case of an emergency and even a face mirror that leans slightly downwards from a strategic height to allow a wheelchair-user to view his upper body.

We were all touched by the willingness of these two shopping centres to improve on what they were providing for shoppers

Sources: The Star