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Fix shortcomings in Persons with Disabilities Act

Graphic: Person in a wheelchair in a market in Kuala Lumpur

SUHAKAM has called for an overhaul of the Act to ensure greater protection for the rights of people with disabilities

Although Malaysia enacted the Persons with Disabilities Act 2008 and ratified the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2010, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) observes that people with disabilities continue to face inequalities in different aspects of life, including in access to employment, education and health.

SUHAKAM believes this is partly due to omissions in the Person with Disabilities Act 2008, including:

  • The lack of comprehensive monitoring, penalties or remedies mechanisms against individuals, organisations and/or businesses who violate the Act or the rights of people with disabilities
  • The lack of legal remedies or redress mechanism against government for violating the rights of people with disabilities (Section 41 of the Act gives the government and its related agencies immunity from any form of legal action)
  • The lack of 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 of discrimination and harassment from people with disabilities.

SUHAKAM strongly urges the government to address the shortcomings in the Act and make necessary amendments to ensure it delivers better protection, is rights-based (not based on charity or social welfare) and includes effective enforcement mechanisms through remedial provisions.

SUHAKAM would also like to commend the Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya (MBPJ) for receiving the Most Caring City Council 2017 for the actions it has taken to make the city accessible for people with disabilities.

These proactive measures– such as forming a Universal Design Unit to ensure that developments incorporate and comply with universal building design features – should be followed by others.

Date: 3 December 2017

Source: Human Rights Commission of Malaysia

Image credits

  1. Person in a wheelchair in a market in Kuala Lumpur - tian yake, Flickr