SUBANG JAYA: The Women, Family and Community Development ministry is encouraging all ministries to have at least 1% disabled (OKU) staff in their workforce.
Deputy minister Hannah Yeoh said the move was to encourage employment for the OKU community in both the public and private sector.
“We are pushing the ministries who have not fulfilled the 1% to do it so that we have the authority to tell the private sector to do the same,” she added.
The public sector, she said, should lead by example before pushing private companies to follow suit.
Presently, the Education ministry has the highest number of such employees with 1,477, but the Rural and Regional Development Ministry (1.87%) has the highest percentage, followed by Hannah’s own ministry (1.75%).
At present, there are a total of 3,782 OKU employees in the ministries, and the target is to reach 12,811.
However, Yeoh said they were not setting a time frame to achieve this target.
As encouragement to employers to hire OKU staff, she said, employers could enjoy tax deductions worth twice the amount paid to hire an OKU worker.
“So if they hire an OKU for RM1,000 a month, which would mean RM12,000 a year, they will get tax deductions worth RM24,000,” she explained.
Yeoh made the announcement after launching the P3KU Carnival in her former state constituency, Subang Jaya on Saturday (Nov 17). She is currently MP of Segambut.
Employers could also enjoy single deductions for any physical modifications to their building and double deductions for any training provided to their OKU staff, she added.
Yeoh said that there had been suggestions to penalise companies that failed to fulfill the 1% employment criteria, but she felt such a move might backfire.
“Some companies may opt to pay the fine instead of hiring OKU staff because it may cost them (more) to provide training,” she added.
She said the ministry was presently pushing for people to register for OKU cards first.
Most parents, said Yeoh, refrained from registering their children for these cards due to the stigma.
She assured them that an OKU card could be cancelled when it was not needed anymore.
“Disabilities may not be long term. All you need is a medical certificate stating this, so it can be cancelled later when not needed anymore,” stressed Yeoh.
There are 487,904 registered OKU members throughout the country as at Nov 8, 2018.
Yeoh said the ministry was contemplating adding sub categories to the OKU card to help the community access specific services.
During the event, Yeoh pledged RM10,000 to P3KU, a special children’s non-governmental organisation formed by a group of parents who have special kids.
They are currently operating out of a USJ house to provide learning and activity programmes for special children without any charges.