April 26, 2008 by YB M. Kulasegaran
On April 23 night while attending to the needs of my constituents at the Bercham Service Center, I had a shock to see young woman being assisting to climb up the 1st floor office.
She was only 24 years old and almost blind and had gradually become blind because of neglect and also being poor she could not afford the medical cost. Her story is really shocking and shows how we need to redirect public resources to help people like Leong Shir Ley.
Leong told me she was only 24 years old and was having eyesight problem from very young. She had attended school but because her parents could not afford the cost she could not see specialist doctors. The financial burden only worsened as the years progressed and she began to loose her eye sight
After finishing school she started work at a pharmacy outlet in Bercham but by then she had lost sight on both eyes. She was referred to the Gleneagles Medical Centre for treatment and the medical report of the hospital states as follows: “The patient had suffered retinal detachment in both eyes previously and had undergone surgery to both eyes for this condition. Presently, she has very limited vision in both eyes (counting figures only) Her vision CANNOT be improved further with any other treatment and she is unable to continue working as a clerical staff."
The life story and the her sufferings as a blind brought tears to my eyes.
She has now stop working and is waiting SOSCO to assist her on financial benefits.
However Leong said she does not want to be on welfare but want to work for her bread. She is determined to work although blind and I was taken aback by her tenacity.
She has forwarded her application to be retrained as a IT assistant with the Pusat Latihan Gurney but has not received any reply from the pusat. I am taking up the matter.
Next week when parliament opens I will find out what happened to her application to the Pusat Gurney. I will follow up until I get a proper answer because Leong was very concerned that being a Chinese she may not be able to get training at the Pusat Latihan. I promised her this is not the case and I will help her get the training she needs.
A story in the New Straits Times today is heartening. It says the government is creating more jobs for the disabled from 400 to 10,000 jobs. This is good and I have raised the issue of disabled people numerous times in Parliament but little has changed, little has been done.
I had even suggested that at toll collections on the highway should be reserved for disabled people where they can work as clerical staff.
The time has come for change, for society and the government to recognize people like Leong are normal people with some disabilities and should be treated with respect and dignity and a good portion of the national resources used to asset them live a meaningful life.
Lets change now!