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Panel to unite disabled groups

PLANS for a council representing disabled peopleโ€™s organisations are in the works, marking another milestone for the disability rights movement in Brunei.

Co-Chairman of 3rd ADF 2013 Dato Paduka Mohd Alimin Abdul Wahab (C) and Malai Haji Abdullah Haji Malai Othman (L) during the press conference at the closing ceremony of ASEAN Disability Forum 2013 (ADF) at the Rizqun International Hotel in Gadong

The Acting Chairman of Pusat Ehsan, Dato Paduka Mohd Alimin Abd Wahab, yesterday revealed to local media in a press conference that a constitution was in the process of being drafted with a completion date slated for the end of the year.

He explained the council will serve as an umbrella organisation for the nine disabled peopleโ€™s organisations in the country.

The establishment of the council aims to streamline advocacy efforts by uniting the disabled peopleโ€™s organisations as well as through equitable distribution of resources. Dato Mohd Alimin hopes a new level of collaboration and cooperation within the disabled community can be forged through this.

โ€œAt the moment, we are all running for the same cause, but fighting for the same resources. Through the council, we hope to work together as one to help the disabled community,โ€ he said.

The disabled peopleโ€™s organisations of Brunei are also calling on the public to use the term โ€œpeople with different abilitiesโ€ instead of the more common โ€œpeople with disabilitiesโ€ to promote a positive approach towards disability issues.

โ€œThe word disability has been around for a very long time. Itโ€™s a negative and derogatory term,โ€ remarked the President of the Society for the Management of Autism Related Issues (SMARTER), Malai Hj Abdullah Malai Othman.

He said Brunei should lead the use of the term โ€œpeople with different abilitiesโ€ particularly as they are working towards advocating disability-inclusive developments.

โ€œWhile we acknowledge that people have disability, weโ€™re focused on developing their ability. Itโ€™s about taking a positive perspective,โ€ Dato Mohd Alimin added.

The Acting Chairman of Pusat Ehsan elaborated on the need to put new emphasis on the way disability issues are approached. โ€œWhen we talk about disability alone, we are giving emphasis on what they cannot do. If we talk about different ability, we show what they can do,โ€ he said.

Acting Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Datin Paduka Hjh Adina Othman also highlighted the need to ensure the rights of people with disabilities from a rights-based approach and the removal of barriers through legislation. Brunei is working towards a Persons with Disabilities Order and is currently in the negotiation process with all relevant stakeholders, prompting the acting minister to call on all those involved to cooperate towards the realisation of the legislation.

Another area of immediate concern in Brunei is the need to have a national registration of people with disabilities.

In her closing address at the 3rd ASEAN Disability Forum yesterday, Datin Paduka Hjh Adina reiterated the need for common understanding among all stakeholders on the definition and classification of people with disabilities.

The press conference was held at the Rizqun International Hotel, Gadong, on the sidelines of the two-day forum.

Additional Information

Country: Brunei Darussalam
Email: N/A
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Source: The Brunei Times
When: 26/12/2013

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