Summary : Disabilities Act 2002
A SUMMARY : The Proposed Persons with Disabilities Act 2002
Introduction : The Ministry of National Unity and Social Development through its Working Group on Legislation headed by Encik Mah Hassan Haji Omar had drafted a proposed Act to be called the Persons with Disabilities Act to provide the basis for equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities,to eliminate discrimination and harassment against them and to promote their full participation as equal citizens of this country.
Chapter 1 of the Proposed Act covers definitions. Among the definitions, “disability” is defined as “any restriction or lack of ability, resulting from an impairment, to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being” and “impairment” is “any loss or abnormality of psychological, physiological or anatomical structure or function “.
Chapter 2 provides for the equalization of opportunites and full participation for disabled persons.This chapter is divided into 7 parts.
Chapter 2 Part 1 sets out the responsilities of all the relevant authorities to prevent and detect disabilities. Among the responsibilities are the carrying out of research on the causes of disabilities and providing adequate training for primary health care personnel to assist disabled persons and regular treatment to improve their level of functioning.
Recognising that education provides the key to the development of disabled persons, Chapter 2 Part 2 covers in detail the requirements to provide disabled persons with equal access to quality education. It requires the relevant authorities to provide every disabled child with free education in an appropriate environment until the age of 18 years. It advocates integration of such students into mainstream schools where possible, the provision of flexible and suitable curriculum, assistive devices and properly trained teachers. The relevant authorities are also required to prepare a comprehensive education scheme to implement individualized education plan for every disabled child and to provide transport and financial assistance to parents and NGOs working in this aspect.
Chapter 2 Part 3 provides for ways to promote the employment and self-employment of disabled persons so that they can contribute to nation building and lead more independent lives.It sets out incentives for employers and financial and training assistance for disabled persons to carry out their own businesses.
Chapter 2 Part 4 covers the rehabilitation facilities and services to be provided for disabled persons.
Chapter 2 Part 5 covers access. It requires the relevant authorities and local governments to implement policies to reduce physical barriers in the environment and to increase access to information and communication for the disabled persons.
Chapter 2 Part 6 on support services requires all relevant authorities to ensure the participation of disabled persons and their organizations in the development of government policies and in decision making.
Chapter 2 Part 7 provides for better social security coverage for disabled persons by requiring the relevant authorities to give them adequate income support, incentives for seeking employment and protection from abuse
Chapter 3 makes Discrimination on the ground of disability unlawful. It provides the mechanisms for disabled persons to seek redress if they are discriminated on the ground of their disabilities. It has 5 parts.
Chapter 3 Part 1 defines direct and indirect discrimination. Discrimination is said to occur if a person treats a disabled person less favourably than a person without the disability in circumstances that are the same. Indirect discrimination is defined as treating a disabled person less favourably on the ground of his/her disability by requiring that person to comply with a requirement which he/she cannot comply with and which requirement is not reasonable having regard to the circumstances of the case.
Chapter 3 Part 2 covers all the areas where disability discrimination is prohibited. The areas include employment, agencies, partnerships, qualifying bodies, registered organizations, education, access to buildings, in the provision of goods, services, facilities and accommodation, in sports and recreational activities and in land and property dealings.
Chapter 3 Part 3 prohibits discrimination involving harassment in employment and education.
Chapter 3 Part 4 covers exemptions. Acts done in compliance with statutory authorities, order of court or tribunal or any law or regulation or to protect public health cannot be considered as discriminatory and are therefore not unlawful.
Chapter 3 Part 5 sets up a Commission for Persons with Disabilities. The Commission consists of a chairperson, 4 persons from the government and 4 persons representing disabled persons. The functions of the Commission, among other things , are to enforce the Act, advise the Minister, submit reports to Parliament, safeguard the rights of disabled persons and look into complaints of discrimination. It has powers to investigate complaints and to take up the matter with prosecuting authorities to prosecute those who discriminate against disabled persons and/or those who fail to comply with the requirements of the Act.
Chapter 4 on Offences sets out the punishments for those who discriminate against disabled persons and/or those who fail to comply with the provisions of this Act.
FOR DETAILS OF THE PROPOSED ACT, GO TO :
FOR DETAILS ON THE SUGGESTIONS FOR AMENDMENTS TO THE ACT, GO TO :
This summary is prepared by the Coalition of Societies of and for Disabled Persons in Penang which includes the following organizations:
(1)Society of Disabled Persons Penang (2)Eden Handicap Service Centre(3)Old Nicolites Association(4)St. Nicholas Association for the Blind(5)Society of the Blind, Malaysia (SBM), Penang Branch(6)Penang Deaf Association(7)The Cerebral Palsy (Spastic) Children’s Association Of Penang(8)Asia Community Service(9)Autism Support Association Penang(10)Penang Down Syndrome Association(11)Socio-economic & Environmental Research Institute
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