New council to help advocate NGOs’ causes

National 2 minutes, 31 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE recent approval to set up the Council for the Welfare of Persons with Different Abilities Brunei Darussalam will now give a collective voice for its nine Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) to advocate and educate the public of their causes.

On May 22, Hj Abdul Hakim Hj Mohd Yassin, the former president of the National Association of the Deaf (OKP) said the Registrar of Society (ROS) has approved nine NGOs’ application to establish a special needs council that aims to be more effective in providing welfare.

The nine NGOs are the Centre for Child with Special Needs, the Paraplegic and Physically Disabled Association, Pusat Ehsan, Society for the Management of Autism Related issues in Training, Education and Resources (SMARTER), Brunei Darussalam National Association of the Blind, Learning Ladders Society, National Association of the Deaf, Brunei Darussalam Down Syndrome Association and Special Olympics Brunei Darussalam.

SMARTER president Malai Hj Abdullah Malai Hj Othman told The Brunei Times yesterday that he was pleased there is now a body to advocate persons with different abilities.

“This council was set up not to dictate over the other organisations, but for us all to collaborate have one voice for persons with different abilities,’’ he said.

At the same time, he said Brunei will now be able to be represented abroad at conferences through this united council.

He added the setting up of this body meant that Brunei has been finally rectified under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

“With this council in Brunei, we hope to have good funding where we will be able to organise conferences, among others. The council will be about sharing best practices with each other where all will benefit,’’ he said.

Malai added the council will also support and help out other newer NGOs dealing with persons with different abilities in Brunei.

Meanwhile, president of the Brunei Darussalam Down Syndrome Association Siti Zaliha Abu Salim also welcomed the setting up of the council, saying all NGOs dealing with persons with different abilities will all be under one umbrella.

“We all want all the individuals with different abilities to have their needs catered to. Now we can coordinate with this council and carry out what these individuals need,’’ she said.

Vice-president of the Paraplegic and Physically Disabled Association Sahari Hj Tinggal said their organisation has had problems in advocating for the need of facilities especially for those who are physically disabled.

“If you look everywhere, it is hard for the physically disabled to move about independently. So we hope that with this council, it can be the voice for us to share our concerns with the government and the private sector on ways to improve for people with different abilities,’’ he said.

He said it is currently challenging for the physically disabled to manoeuvre around some government buildings, shopping malls and even private sector offices.

“So I hope our voice will be heard through this council by all relevant parties, including the private sector,’’ he said.

The Brunei Times