Monday, January 03, 2011

Dr Xavier And Dr Chandra At MBPJ Event To Tackle Disability Issues

Dr Chandra with Councillor Richard Yeoh as moderator

(Pictures by PET+BLOGSPOT & MBPJ)

ALMOST THREE HUNDRED participants, most of them able-bodied, attended a first-ever seminar on disabilities held by the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) here last Wednesday.

Dr Xavier: "More needs to be done for the disabled."
Called "Moving Forward, Keeping the Promise", the closed-door event was launched by YB Dr A Xavier Kumar, chairman of Selangor state's Health, Plantation Workers, Poverty and Caring Government Committee.

Shaking hands with aNt whilst Tuan Puasa looks on
In his speech, Dr Xavier praised MBPJ for its outstanding work for the disabled community. He called on other councils to follow their example.

Noordin Sopiee Professor of Global Studies at the Science University of Malaysia (USM) and PETPOSITIVE adviser Dr Chandra Muzaffar was the first to speak as a speaker at the seminar. 

He touched on the need for humanity to be compassionate for those who had been marginalised by our society, namely the disabled and the elderly.

The VVIPs: Noraini (left) YB Haniza (right)
"It is very sad that religion has failed our community with all its meaningless rituals," said Dr Muzaffar. "It is time for us all to return to being compassionate for others," he added.

For respected local conservationist Jeffrey Phang it was imperative for our society to share the forests with everyone instead of some people. 

Conservationist Jeffrey Phang
"The disabled and the older generation need to get into the forest too rather than just be spectators from the outside," he said in his passionate presentation. 

He went on to point out a very regretful incident recently when funds set aside for disabled access in the Kota Damansara Community Forest was suddenly channeled to a non disabled project.

Phang is co-chairman of Friends of Kota Damansara (FoKD), a conservation group that fought for the gazettement of the Kota Damansara forest in PJ. 

Dato Professor Dr Patrick Tan driving home the point.
Dato Professor Dr Patrick Tan from the University Malaya Medical Centre gave the sobering facts about how PJ was turning into an elderly society and appealed to all the planners and engineers of the city to prepare for this important new generation in the near future. 

One of the most interesting sessions was the one featuring disabled persons and their caregivers as speakers. 

Voices of the disabled
The physically disabled, Deaf, blind, a representative of persons with learning disabilities and a caregiver of an elderly man with stroke told of their courageous stories trying to live as a citizen with their conditions.

It was an unanimous outcome that all local councils need to do much more to integrate people with disabilities into the city.

Question/comment time from the floor
The full-day seminar was closed by Taman Medan assemblyman Haniza Talha.

"With such a good response, we are thinking of a repeat session sometime in the mid of 2011," said a beaming Anthony SB Thanasayan to PET+BLOGSPOT after the event.

"When it comes to doing disability work, there's always more and more awareness that needs to be created in order to create a barrier free society for the disabled." He concluded.

Apart from Petpositive, other NGOs that participated in the seminar as speakers were the Dyslexic Association of Malaysia, Sign Language Interpreters for the Deaf and Independent Living and Training Centre.

The seminar was held in celebration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities that fell on December 3, 2010.

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