Thursday September 13, 2012
Impressive new personal disabled identification card
By ANTHONY THANASAYAN
I BECAME the proud owner of a new personal disabled identification card last week. And I must say that I am very impressed with it! I had not expected it to look as good as it did when I first applied for it over a month ago. It certainly beats my two previous disabled IDs.
The latest ID comes in a lovely pink colour. It is the size of our Malaysian identity card. There is a very noticeable outline image of a white wheelchair with a person in it, against a blue background. This is the international logo for the disabled. Below it are the words: “Persons with Disabilities” (PWDs). This is how an increasing number of disabled people wish to be referred to now.
PWDs who prefer this term argue that the general public are more likely to focus on the person first and their respective disabilities, second.
It is encouraging to see that such positive changes taking place globally, are also happening here in our country. The bold words and colours on the latest ID also add a certain dignity to the cardbearers.
PWDs do need a helping hand from society. If we care to be honest about it, it is because we have not taken their needs and rights into consideration from the onset. Had we done that, many disabled Malaysians today would be well-educated and gainfully employed like their overseas counterparts.
Bearers of such cards should be given special consideration in almost every sphere of their lives. It is the least we can do to make up for our “negligence.”
It is great that certain public transport companies are offering half fares, and phone and Internet companies are subsidising prices for handicapped Malaysians. We must strive to improve and outdo ourselves when it comes to exercising our corporate social responsibility towards the disabled.
Another plus point about the new ID is that it bears some of the nation’s most importantlogos, namely, the National Emblem, and the logos of the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry and the National Welfare Department.
This is a great move that will encourage more government bodies as well as private agencies to conduct campaigns to register PWDs and take steps to improve the quality of life of the disabled.
However, there are a couple of glitches with the card that I hope will be resolved.
On the card, it states that it must be returned should the owner be no longer disabled.
When I enquired, I was told it refers to very rare cases where the blind regained their sight after surgery. I think this clause should be removed as it can be misleading to suggest that disabilities can be cured. Not only does this give false hope to PWDs, it also makes them vulnerable to exploitation by unscrupulous salespeople promising “miracle cures”.
Getting the card was a breeze for me. I passed my application to a friend in the welfare headquarters in Putrajaya, who did the necessary.
However, collecting it was another story. I was told I had to either show up at the local welfare office personally or get a friend to collect it on my behalf. Fortunately, the problem was solved with just another phone call to Putrajaya. I was told that any disabled person who is not able to go to the local welfare centre, may request that an officer go personally to see them instead. Sadly, the frontline staff at the local welfare department were not aware of this.
Anyway, my glossy card finally arrived at my home and the exchange was completed in just 60 seconds!