PETALING JAYA, June 25 — The lack of infrastructure is not an excuse not to provide opportunities for excellent persons with disabilities (PwD) students to further their studies at higher education institutions (IPTs), OKU Sentral president Senator Datuk Ras Adiba Radzi said.
In this regard, Ras Adiba, who represents the PwDs in the Senate, said there was a need for better enforcement of Section 28 (1) and (2) of the PwD Act 2008.
Section 28 (1) of the act states that PwDs shall not be excluded from the general education system on the basis of disabilities, while Section 28 (2) of the act states that the government and private educational providers shall, in order to enable persons and children with disabilities to pursue education, provide reasonable accommodation suitable with their requirements, including infrastructure, equipment and teaching materials, teaching methods, curricula and other forms of support.
“(Therefore) The amendment to the PwD Act should be expedited this year to provide reasonable adjustments that are in accordance with the needs of the group,” she told reporters at the OKU Sentral drive-through vaccination centre here, today.
Ras Adiba had previously called for amendments to the PwD Act 2008 to empower the rights of the disabled community.
On Wednesday, Higher Education director-general Prof Datuk Dr Husaini Omar said that programmes offered to PwD applicants were based on an agreement with the institutions by taking into accounts several criteria, including the academic achievements of the candidates and the disabled-friendly infrastructure provided at the IPTs.
Ras Adiba, who is also the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) chairman, said this implied that most buildings in IPTs did not meet the standards outlined in Section 34A of the Uniform Building By-Laws 1984.
“Failure to abide by the law has caused difficulties to PwD students to access the buildings and facilities at IPTs.
“We have to look at the perspective of a PwD himself, don’t do something thinking that we (PwDs) will be okay,” she said.
Ras Adiba added that OKU Sentral would discuss with universities on ways to assist the students in order to provide equal educational opportunities.
“They (PwD students) also work hard to become intellectuals, so who we are to say that they have limited opportunities when they have more abilities than others,” she said.