Form special councils on vulnerable groups

The opposition-controlled state governments must form special councils to look into the needs of the disabled and elderly.

Petpositive president Anthony Thanasayan said the winds of change which swept across the 12th general election must also include vulnerable groups.

Speaking to Malaysiakini today, he said the new elected representatives from the opposition must not forget the disabled.

"While I am happy to see the formation of new state governments, I am also concerned that we (the vulnerable groups) would be reduced to mere tokens again," added the 47-year-old wheelchair-bound activist.

He said the new leaders lacked the experience in working with vulnerable groups and therefore feedback on the many issues affecting them is vital.

Thanasayan said the council must include leaders from the vulnerable groups in order for it to be effective.

"These new leaders must meet with us to familiarise themselves with our problems. We should be the first group that they meet," he added.

Significant changes needed

Thanasayan also said that the disabled and the elderly also want to see significant changes in these states.

Citing Petaling Jaya as an example, he stressed that the city must be made more accessible.

"Over the next five years, we would like to see significant changes. A total transformation, including access to local councils and the elected representatives," he added.

Thanasayan also suggested that a hotline be created to allow the vulnerable groups to have direct contact with the elected representatives.

"These representatives must also visit us on a regular basis to collect our feedback on the issues affecting us," he said.

One of their problems, Thanasayan pointed out, was healthcare.

"While treatment is free, more often than not, the government hospitals do not have the medication we want and we are forced to buy them outside.

"These medication are expensive and something must be done about this like allowing us to make claims," he said.

Apart from this, Thanasayan also called for all disabled parking lots to be made free of charge.

He also wants to seek an appointment with the new Selangor menteri besar to explain to him the crucial role that animals play in assisting vulnerable groups.

"For example, MBPJ (Petaling Jaya City Council) does not give free dog licences. We also want to see the negative perception surrounding dogs change, especially in local councils and awareness on this must be inculcated," he said.

Former MB slammed

Meanwhile, Thanasayan also took former Selangor menteri besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo to task over his comments today.

Mohd Khir had said the first Barisan Nasional (BN) offensive against the opposition, which now controls the state, will be to register all 62-year-olds in in government hospitals as the opposition had promised that those above the said age in the state would receive free healthcare.

"This is an unbecoming and shameful statement to be made by a former MB. Politicians should stop using the elderly and the disabled for their objectives," said Thanasayan.

Stating that he was "sick and tired" of this, the disabled activist said politicians had a habit of using vulnerable groups in victory and defeat.

"It is shameful that the former MB did not register the elderly when he was in power and is thinking of doing this only now. Such statements will guarantee that he does not win (in the elections) again. He must also realise that he will grow old one day," he said.

"We (vulnerable groups) are the scapegoats for politicians. The politicians must have genuine interest in wanting to help us," he added.

Thanasayan stressed that healthcare was important to the elderly who suffer from many medical complications and it was not an issue to be politicised.

RK Anand
Mar 12, 08

1 comment:

stanley said...

is this what you wanted in your re election slogan GIVE ME ONE MINUTE AND I WILL GIVE YOU FIVE YEARS

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