Fatimah: State needs vocational school for the deaf

Monday June 11, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/6/11/sarawak/11453892&sec=sarawak

By ZORA CHAN
zora@thestar.com.my

Let’s dance: Members of Sarawak Society for the Deaf dancing during the association’s 30th anniversary dinner. — ZORA CHAN/ The Star

KUCHING: Sarawak needs a vocational school for the deaf to better train them for the various industries that are coming up in the state.

Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah said the country now had two such vocational schools in Selangor and Penang.

She said since there were more people with impaired hearing registered with the Welfare Department in the state — from 142 in 2008 to 452 this year — it was time for a vocational school to be built.

“If there is a vocational school for the deaf in Sarawak, our people need not have to go to the peninsula for training.”

The vocational school would also serve the needs of people with various disabilities or special needs, she said when officiating at Sarawak Society for the Deaf’s (SSD) 30th anniversary dinner here on Saturday.

Fatimah said people with disabilities or special needs should not be left out in the country’s workforce but instead given the opportunity to learn and prove their self worth.

She said it was heartening to note that SSD members were employed as account executive, teacher, administrative assistant, tailor and mechanic, while some as home-based artists.

“Some also excel in sports. This goes to show that the deaf are equally capable to work like others,” she said, adding that education plus motivation were the key to these successful stories.

All together: Fatimah (third from right) flanked by Sarawak Society for the Deaf’s committee members and invited guests during the association’s anniversary dinner.

Fatimah commended the society for a job well done in holding motivational talks, free tuition classes, tailoring and hair dressing courses for its members and assisting them in job placement to enable them to earn a decent income.

“Members have been successfully placed at various places of employment where they are suitably matched. One of the very successful employment stories is the KFC Saujana, which is managed by the deaf,” she said.

To date, Fatimah said, 27,919 disabled people in the state had registered with the department and they mainly comprised those with learning disabilities.

“The government has various aids for the disabled such as lens, prosthetic, glasses, wheel chair and hearing aid which amounted to RM123,797 between January and June this year,” she said.

The government also distributed monthly disabled employee allowance to 1,863 amounting to RM2.2mil from January to April this year and monthly aid for unemployed disabled to 2,703 amounting to RM1.6mil.

“We also spent about RM2.2mil for 1,847 disabled who are bed ridden and admitted to the hospitals,” she added.