Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Ruling disabled - Only one ministry lived up to govt’s one per cent OKU aspiration

ONLY one out of 10 ministries has fulfilled the requirement to employ the minimum number of disabled employees.

Figures from the Social Welfare Department (JKM) reveals the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry is the only government body to have exceeded the minimum one per cent of disabled people required in its total workforce.

The ministry recorded 2.97 per cent of new disabled intakes from its total intake of 245 staff last year.

It is a far cry from the other nine ministries, which did not even meet the one per cent quota.

They include the Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Ministry, Prime Minister’s Department, Science,
Technology and Innovation Ministry, Information, Communication and Culture Ministry, Transport Ministry, Tourism Ministry, Higher Education Ministry, Human Resources Ministry and Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry. (see table)

JKM’s disabled development department deputy director, N. Pathmanathan, said a change of mindset was needed among government agencies if the figures were to improve.

He said this was because some agencies, such as Customs, Immigration and police, had the perception that the disabled could not function as efficiently as their able-bodied counterparts due to the nature of the job.

“They think the disabled can’t perform certain physically-demanding tasks, such as conducting checks and inspections.

“However, they tend to forget that their departments have offices where administrative tasks are available and could be easily handled by the disabled people.”

Pathmanathan also reasoned the low percentage of disabled employees could be due to a freeze on new intakes for government agencies imposed last August.

He also opined a dearth of the disabled, who apply for jobs in the public sector and an even lower number who turn up for interview once they are called up, could be a contributing factor.

Pathmanathan said in 2008, there were 6,260 job applications from the disabled for posts in public service departments and 2,334 were called for interviews.

He said only 1,475 attended and 275 were selected for positions based on academic qualifications and abilities.

“In 2009, 6,105 applications were received, 1,552 were called for interviews, 982 turned up and 215 selected.

“In 2010, 7,114 applications were received, 764 were called for interviews and 522 attended. A total of 132 were selected.”

Pathmanathan said what was needed now was awareness on job opportunities for the disabled.

He said there were also people with disabilities who are not registered with the JKM.

“As at 2011, there are only 300,000 disabled people registered with JKM and that is just a mere 1.1 per cent of the total population.

“According to the World Health Organisation, a country would have at least five to 10 per cent of disabled people.”

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