Monday, January 18, 2010

Disabled ask for action against MACC man - The Star

Disabled ask for action against MACC man


KUALA LUMPUR: Members of the Malaysians Against Discrimination of the Disabled (MADD) coalition submitted a memorandum to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission demanding that strict disciplinary action be taken against its head of prosecution Datuk Abdul Razak Musa for insulting veteran lawyer Karpal Singh last Friday.

The memorandum also urged the MACC to tender a public apology not only to Karpal but to all disabled persons in the country.

It also demanded that the MACC should immediately institute a full review of its training and recruitment methods, programmes and modules.

Last week during the Teoh Beng Hock inquest, Abdul Razak told Karpal, who is wheelchair-bound, that “I can sit down, but you cannot stand up.”

The MADD coalition, represented by seven wheelchair-bound members and its legal adviser N. Surendran, were initially told by a civil servant at the MACC building here that they had to personally turn up at the MACC office on the fifth floor to hand the memorandum.

This sparked an uproar as there were no disabled-friendly facilities in the building.

“There is no one from the MACC who dares come down. Instead, the wheelchair-bound members were asked to enter a building which has no ramp for wheelchairs or a disabled-friendly lift.
“This shows the insensitivity of the MACC against the disabled,” said Surendran.

The group chanted “Say sorry now” while waiting for an MACC representative to come down and accept the memorandum. They were made to wait for more than half hour before a representative turned up.
Nevertheless, the group only wanted to hand the memorandum over to Federal Territories MACC director Azni Hamzah.

“Thank you very much for coming. We will take it (the memorandum) seriously and take the necessary action. Sorry for the inconvenience caused,” said Azni who turned up a few minutes later.

MADD member T. Anthony Siva Balan said though the group accepted the apology for the long wait, the MACC should train its staff to be more sensitive to the needs of the disabled.

“Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak should look into the needs of the disabled so that we are not discriminated against and ridiculed. Let this be the last time,” he said, adding that this was the worst treatment accorded to the coalition when delivering a memorandum.

In 2008, the coalition had delivered a memorandum at Parliament demanding apologies from Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin and Pasir Mas MP Datuk Ibrahim Ali for uttering discriminatory statements against Karpal, who is also Bukit Gelugor MP.

Both MPs had asked wheelchair-bound Karpal to stand up and show respect to the speaker in Parliament.
Surendran said if the memorandum’s conditions were not met, the coalition would stage a demonstration in Putrajaya and deliver a memorandum to the Prime Minister’s Office.

“We don’t want to take it to the streets as it is very taxing for the disabled, but their rights must be upheld,” he said, adding that the memorandum to Najib would include a demand for a review of the Persons With Disabilities Act 2008.

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