IPOH: FACTORY operators, especially those in Ipoh, have no qualms about employing the intellectually disabled.
Bengkel Perlindungan Semangat Maju administrator Hasnah Md Nasir said the centre, which provides training for those with intellectual disability, had received numerous requests from manufacturers here who wish to hire them.
"The demand is so great that we cannot fulfil all the requests," said Hasnah.
"Even though they are employed to perform only light work, it shows that they can perform tasks just like normal people if they are given proper training," she said during a bead making workshop at the centre here recently.
Hasnah said those with intellectual disability were actually better employees compared to normal workers as the former are more dedicated in carrying out their duties.
"They are more disciplined and do not know how to cheat while on duty," she said.
She also advised parents who have children with intellectual disability to send them to any centre which offers skills training like Bengkel Perlindungan Semangat Maju so that their children could have a better future.
"Do not keep them at home. Send them to the centres so they can gain skills which can later be used to generate an income," she said.
Trainer Nor Halina Buang, who conducted the workshop, said such a programme could help those concerned to be independent.
"Programmes like bead making can help them generate an income for themselves. What is important is to provide theory and technical support to help them to be self-reliant," said Nor Halina.
She also urged more Malaysians to come forward to assist the intellectually disabled in the country.
Meanwhile, the Perak Association for Intellectually Disabled principal Datuk Dr Yeoh Beng San said the association manages five Sekolah Semangat Maju in the state.
The schools are in Taiping, Sitiawan, Batu Gajah, Kuala Kangsar and Ipoh.
He said the schools were meant for those with intellectual disability, aged between 5 and 21 years.
"We also manage three Bengkel Perlindungan Semangat Maju in Sitiawan, Taiping and Ipoh, for those above 21 years," he said.
Dr Yeoh added that the association plans to develop an old folk home for the intellectually disabled in Tambun.
"We have secured a 1.2ha land for that purpose.
"What we need now is funding as it may cost about RM2 million to build the home," he said.