Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Ministry Form Special Panel To Improve Service

Wednesday July 8, 2009

Ministry forms panel to improve service at shelter homes

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KUALA KUBU BARU: A committee will be formed to raise the competency level in government-run shelter homes in the country and in the provision of care for the disabled, said Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.

She said the committee would find ways to improve the current state of service and equip the departments involved with the necessary expertise and technology in treating and caring for those who need special care at the homes.

“I will personally spearhead the committee along with my ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Faizah Mohd Tahir and people from the Welfare Department,” Shahrizat said when visiting the Taman Sinar Harapan shelter home here yesterday.

She said that among others, the committee was also expected to discuss ways and methods on the training of welfare officers and the improvement of conditions at shelter homes.

The minister also suggested that Suhakam and the Bar Council form a special task force and volunteer at the home for a month for hands-on experience before filing their official report to the authorities.

Although she admitted that shelter homes could do with more staff, Shahrizat said that increasing the number of welfare officers was not a long-term solution.

“What we need is a new methodology and a paradigm shift in the system and to move forward with a new mentality,” she said, stressing that the community played an important role in understanding and providing care for the disabled.

Up close and personal: Shahrizat greeting one of the young residents at the Taman Sinar Harapan shelter home Tuesday.

“All I want to know is, where are the families of the patients here? They have made this into a place to dump or abandon their own disabled family members, whom they can’t cope with anymore.

“They have to be more involved in caring for them,” she said, adding that the Government was open to any suggestion and help, particularly foreign expertise on the methods of caring for the disabled.

Shahrizat said it was also time for change, adding that she had been dissatisfied with the current standard of care for the disabled and the condition of shelter homes.

“I’m not going to play the blame game or point fingers at this stage. What really needs to be done is that everyone should come and put our heads together in resolving the issue,” she said.

Shahrizat said the caregivers involved had also given their best as they were not experts in handling the disabled, especially the mentally challenged.

Welfare Department deputy director-general (operations) Halijah Yahaya, who was present, denied that cough syrup had been given as sedative to the residents.

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