Persons with disabilities, ‘entitled to equal rights in life’: Council head

|     James Kon     |

IN CELEBRATION of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which falls on December 3 every year, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports through the Community Development Department yesterday organised a forum which peered into the various issues and challenges persons with different abilities (OKU) face in their lives, including equal employment.

The event, held at the International Convention Centre, was officiated by Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin, the guest of honour.

In his opening remarks, President of the Council for the Welfare of Persons with Different Abilities Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Alimin bin Haji Abdul Wahab, highlighted that all individuals regardless of their capability and inability are “entitled to enjoy equal rights in various aspects of life, including access to equal facilities and opportunities without any exception or privilege to certain groups only”.

“For instance, the provision of facilities to persons with different abilities will help their movement and help contribute to the economy and the nation’s development. This is one example of the meaning of equality, which when implemented properly, can reduce the impact of disability,” the president explained.

“Everyone in the community has an important role to play in helping persons with different abilities overcome their challenges and make a positive impact.”

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin hits a gong marking the official opening of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Expert panellists at the event. – PHOTOS: RAHWANI ZAHARI

Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Alimin said that the cooperative involvement of every party is important to realise the dreams of persons with different abilities and in making their lives better.

“In this forum, we will hear and share the challenges and issues faced by OKU. The panellists possess massive expertise and experience on the issues they face,” he said. “I believe that the results of the forum will yield invaluable knowledge that can be used to bring about equal rights for persons with different abilities.”

Four individuals with expertise in the field were invited to speak at the event: Acting Head of the Special Education Unit at the Ministry of Education Haji Ali Yusri bin Abdul Ghafor; Rehabilitation Medical Consultant at the Ministry of Health’s Rehabilitation Unit Dr Abang Fahmy bin Awang Hepnie; Bahri bin Bohari from the Ministry of Education; and Ustazah Hajah Zaleha binti Haji Abu Salim from the Brunei Down Syndrome Association.

During the day, the minister also toured the exhibitions set up by various associations under the Council for the Welfare of Persons with Different Abilities.

Also present at the forum were members of the Legislative Council, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Datin Paduka Dr Hajah Norlila binti Dato Paduka Haji Abdul Jalil, as well as representatives from the Employees Trust Fund (TAP), DST Communications, Darussalam Holdings Sdn Bhd, YMRM Galleries, Telekom Brunei Berhad and Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah.