‘Brunei needs laws to protect persons with disabilities’
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
BRUNEI needs a Disability Order to ensure there is a common classification of persons with disabilities and better protect special needs individuals, said the Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports.
Speaking to The Brunei Times on the occasion of today’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Datin Paduka Hjh Adina Othman said Brunei still does not have a common definition of persons with disabilities.
She said different agencies currently have their own definition of disabilities and list of persons with disabilities. However, she said they are not sure if those registered with the agencies could be classified as persons with disabilities.
“With the Disability Order, there will be the setting up of a National Registration Council, and they will be the one who will identify the disability categories,” she said.
The Disability Order will have a common definition for people with disabilities, and there will be a council for registration, she explained.
With the Order, Brunei will also have more accurate statistics on persons with disabilities.
It was previously reported in 2011 that Brunei was still in the process of drafting the Order.
Meanwhile, the deputy minister said a special committee on persons with disabilities and the elderly had already been set up. The committee is currently implementing a plan of action for special needs individuals.
“We have two plans of action – one on persons with disabilities and the other for the elderly.
“Under the plan for persons with disabilities, the plan of action includes 10 areas that have been identified – access to education, health, advocacy, protection of persons with disabilities, employment, financial security, participation, volunteering and accessibility to transportation and infrastructure,” she said.
The deputy minister said the committee, which comprises both government and non-government organisations, will meet once a month.
Datin Paduka Hjh Adina said more awareness campaigns need to be done on persons with disabilities.
“We are still at the advocacy stage. There are still many of us who do not know how to deal with persons with disabilities, and I can see awkwardness here and there,” she added.
As with all other countries, Brunei also strives for an inclusive society, she said, adding that being an inclusive society meant that persons with disabilities can also play a part in society.
The deputy minister said there are persons with disabilities working at the Land Transport Department, Employees Trust Fund and in banks.
However, she said not all persons with disabilities are employable. “But for those who can be (employed), especially the deaf and dumb, they can be trained and it has been proven that the output of their work are actually better than those without disabilities,” she said.
The Brunei Times