Monday, April 30, 2007

Petpositive on Ijok by election

Monday April 30, 2007

A helping hand for the needy

THANK you for your uplifting story about how Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting and his team had recently offered financial help to a middle-aged widow Vasantha and her family in Batang Berjuntai — as well as a special wheelchair gift for Leong Yao Wen from Kampung Baru Ijok who has spinal muscular atrophy. “Ong makes second trip to bring relief to two mums” (The Star, April 28).

These people, we believe strongly, are the true winners of the just-concluded Ijok by election.

Being a national society for disabled persons, we are naturally and especially happy for five-year-old Yao Wen.

His special wheelchair will not only keep him comfortable but it will also offer him the precious gift of mobility.

This means that the little child will be able to enjoy the dignity and freedom of being able to move either on his own or with much less problems than previously.

It’s funny that most people refer to someone in a wheelchair as “wheelchair-bound” when in actual fact, wheelchairs for persons like Yao Wen is liberating.

The wheelchair will open up a lot more opportunities for the little lad as he grows up and starts to interact with society and lead a higher quality of life.

We are delighted and encouraged that the ministry’s programme to eradicate urban poverty targets Malaysians with disabilities. To make this effective where persons with disabilities are concerned, every effort and care should be made to seek out the disabled in their homes and helping them and their families to apply for special aid.

Expecting parents of the disabled to come forward on their own may not always work because the stigma towards persons with disabilities and their families is still very strong in our society.

This is why special intervention such as visiting the disabled in their homes as the good minister has done, is needed. Sometimes repeat visits are also necessary, as Datuk Seri Ong has wonderfully demonstrated.

We congratulate Barisan Nasional’s K. Parthiban for his win and would like to urge him to do everything he can to help not only Yao Wen but also the many other disabled persons like him in Ijok. All development projects should also take into consideration the needs of the handicapped.

President, Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association.

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