KUALA LUMPUR: Persons with disabilities (PWD) in Malaysia continue to be marginalised, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) said today.
The watchdog said that discrimination and inequality faced by the disabled are taking place despite Malaysia’s enactment of the Persons with Disabilities Act 2008 (Act 685) and the ratification of the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2010.
“Suhakam observes that PWD continue to face inequalities in different aspects of life, which negatively affect their access to employment, education and health, resulting in their being marginalised from social participation, which has deprived them of their rights to contribute effectively to development,” it said in a statement to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
The commission stressed that the problem is partly due to omissions in the Person with Disabilities Act 2008.
It said the omissions include a lack of comprehensive monitoring and penalty or remedy mechanisms against individuals, organisations or businesses that violate the Act or the rights of PWD.
“There is also a lack of legal remedies or redress mechanisms against the government for violating the rights of PWD, as Section 41 of the Act gives the government and its related agencies immunity from any form of legal action.
“(And) there are no provisions in the Act to set up a body or appoint a person with powers to enquire into alleged breaches of the Act, including complaints from PWD of discrimination and harassment,” added the Commission.
It urged the government to address the shortcomings of the Act and make necessary amendments to ensure better protection for PWD; and to put in place effective enforcement mechanisms through remedial provisions.
The Commission, however, commended the Petaling Jaya City Council for receiving the Most Caring City Council 2017 title from the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry in October, in conjunction with its National Welfare Month, particularly with regard to measures and efforts taken to ensure that the city is disabled-friendly.
Sukaham had earlier said that all human beings are born free and afforded the same rights without discrimination in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
“The theme for this year’s celebration is ‘Transformation Towards a Sustainable and Resilient Society for All’, which aims to empower PWD and ensure full inclusion of them in all aspects of society as foreseen in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” it added.