1/ Background Statistics Human development index rank



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Overview

Country

Malaysia

1/ Background Statistics

Human development index rank

57 1

GNI per capita (PPP in US$)

13,927 1

Life expectancy at birth (years)

74.7 1

Mean years of schooling (years)

9.5 1

Expected years of schooling (years)

12.5 1

Total population

28,401,000 2

2/ Disability Statistics

Population of persons with disabilities

301,346 persons 3

Proportion of persons with disabilities to total population

1 per cent (1958) (ESCAP 2006, Q 18) 4 
More than 10 per cent of all children have developmental problems and the rate detected increases with age 5

Employment rate of persons with disabilities

..

Access to education

..

3/ Definitions

Definition of disability

The definition of "handicap" used during the Population and Housing Census (2000) referred to "[P]ersons who experience losses, changes or abnormality either physically, body structure, nervous system, functions of an organ and mental or physical disability. It may happen before or after childbirth either on temporary or permanent (defined as handicap for more than six (6) month). The condition either fully or partially hinders the social and community needs of an individual in terms of the cultural and physical environment."

Definition of persons with disabilities

The Persons with Disabilities Act (2008, art. 2)

defines persons with disabilities as “[T]hose who have long term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society.” 6



Categories of impairment

The Population and Housing Census (2000) used the following classification:

  • Sight: includes blind persons, those with poor eyesight, low vision and loss of both eyes. Those with poor eyesight wearing spectacles or contact lenses and those with corrected eyesight are not included in this category.

  • Hearing: includes deafness, partial deafness, loss of hearing (but able to speak) resulting in difficulty with study at school and prospects in suitable employment or being self-employed.

  • Speech: includes inability to speak ("dumb") normally, having difficulty studying at normal schools and also less prospects in getting suitable employment or being self-employed.

  • Limbs: includes handicaps such as amputation of hand/feet, paralysis (including polio), weak backbone or muscles, deformed body structure and dwarfs. Loss of a small body part, such as a finger is not considered as "being handicapped".

  • Mental disorder: includes slow learners, brain damage and mental disorder. A person with mental disorder is defined by imbalance between biological and mental age. Also includes cerebral palsy or spastic due to brain damage caused by virus infections and hemorrhage, leading to brain dysfunction. Mental disorder can refer to two categories: (i) intellectual, (ii) psychological – not included in the definition of mental disorder.

  • Others: inclusive of autism

4/ Commitment to International Instruments on Disability

Ratification or signatory of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and its Optional Protocol

Signed Convention on 8 April 2008;

Ratified Convention on 19 July 2010 7



Ratification of ILO Convention 159

No 8

Ratification or signatory of the Convention on Cluster Munitions

No 9

Ratification or signatory of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction

Signed Convention on 3 December 1997;

Ratified Convention on 22 April 1999 10



5/ Legal Framework

Constitutional provisions

No

Disability-specific laws

Comprehensive

Persons with Disabilities Act (2008)

Sectoral

Cover: accessibility

Disability-inclusive laws

Cover: early detection, intervention and education

6/ Policy Framework

Disability-specific policies

Comprehensive

Policy for Persons with Disabilities (2007);

National Action Plan for Disabled Persons 2007-2012



Sectoral

Cover: self-help organizations; early detection, intervention and education; women with disabilities; training and employment; access to built environments and public transport; poverty alleviation, social security and sustainable livelihood

Disability-inclusive

Cover: education; social welfare; access to information and communication

7/ Institutional Framework

The national coordination mechanism or disability focal point

National Council for People with Disabilities

Sources:

  1. United Nations Development Programme (2010). Human Development Report 2010 (New York, UNDP).

  2. United Nations (2011). World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision, accessed from http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/index.htm on 26 July 2011.

  3. Yeoh Joo Ai, Department of Social Welfare Malaysia, electronic communication with ESCAP dated 31 March 2011.

  4. ESCAP (2006). Questionnaire on the Mid-point Review of the Implementation of the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action towards an Inclusive, Barrier-free and Rights-based Society for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific (BMF), answers from the respective Government on file with ESCAP.

  5. Amar-Singh HSS (2008). “Meeting the needs of Children with Disability in Malaysia, Medical Journal of Malaysia, Vol.63 No.1, March, accessed from www.crc.gov.my/documents/J08-50_MeetingtheNeedsofChildrenwithDisabilityinMalaysia.pdf on 26 July 2011.

  6. Malaysia (2003). “Country Paper: Malaysia”, presented at the Workshop on Improving Disability Data for Policy Use, Bangkok, Thailand, 23-26 September 2003, accessed from www.worldenable.net/escapstats/papermalaysia.htm on 22 September 2010.

  7. United Nations (2011). “Convention and Optional Protocol Signatures and Ratifications”, on the United Nations Enable website, accessed from www.un.org/disabilities/countries.asp?navid=12&pid=166 on 17 October 2011.

  8. International Labour Organization (2011). “Convention No. C 159”, accessed from www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/ratifce.pl?C159 on 17 October 2011.

  9. Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) (2008). “Ratifications and Signatures”, accessed from www.clusterconvention.org/ratifications-and-signatures on 17 October 2011.

  10. Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (1997). “State Parties and Signatories”, accessed from www.unog.ch/80256EE600585943/(httpPages)/6E65F97C9D695724C12571C0003D09EF?OpenDocument on 17 October 2011.

Notes:
Comprehensive
1. Definitions

a) Disability
The definition of "handicap" used during the Population and Housing Census (2000) referred to "[P]ersons who experience losses, changes or abnormality either physically, body structure, nervous system, functions of an organ and mental or physical disability. It may happen before or after childbirth either on temporary or permanent (defined as handicap for more than six (6) month). The condition either fully or partially hinders the social and community needs of an individual in terms of the cultural and physical environment." (Malaysia 2003, 2.2)
b) Persons with disabilities
The Persons with Disabilities Act (2008) defines persons with disabilities as “[T]hose who have long term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society.” (Malaysia 2008, art. 2)
c) Categories of impairment

The Population and Housing Census (2000) used the following classification (Malaysia 2003, 2.2):



  • Sight: includes blind persons, those with poor eyesight, low vision and loss of both eyes. Those with poor eyesight wearing spectacles or contact lenses and those with corrected eyesight are not included in this category.

  • Hearing: includes deafness, partial deafness, loss of hearing (but able to speak) resulting in difficulty with study at school and prospects in suitable employment or being self-employed.

  • Speech: includes inability to speak ("dumb") normally, having difficulty studying at normal schools and also less prospects in getting suitable employment or being self-employed.

  • Limbs: includes handicaps such as amputation of hand/feet, paralysis (including polio), weak backbone or muscles, deformed body structure and dwarfs. Loss of a small body part, such as a finger is not considered as "being handicapped".

  • Mental disorder: includes slow learners, brain damage and mental disorder. A person with mental disorder is defined by imbalance between biological and mental age. Also includes cerebral palsy or spastic due to brain damage caused by virus infections and hemorrhage, leading to brain dysfunction. Mental disorder can refer to two categories: (i) intellectual, (ii) psychological – not included in the definition of mental disorder.

  • Others: inclusive of autism.

2. Legal framework
a) Constitutional provisions
No.
b) Disability-specific laws and regulations
i. Comprehensive disability-specific laws and regulations


  • Persons with Disabilities Act, 2008
    [English] – [Bahasa Malaysia]


The Persons with Disabilities Act (Malaysia 2008) provides the legal foundation for disability legislation and policy in Malaysia. Provisions include the establishment of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities (Part II) and the registration (Part III). Part IV on the "Promotion and Development of the Quality of Life and Wellbeing of Persons with Disabilities" provides for support in the areas of accessibility, rehabilitation, health, protection of persons with severe disabilities and situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies.

The Act also prohibits any discrimination against a person simply on the grounds of disability in the areas of employment, education, housing, transportation, business undertakings, sports, recreational activities, access to public places, access to public facilities and services.



ii. Sectoral disability-specific laws and regulations


  • Uniform Building Laws, 1984
    [English] – [Bahasa Malaysia]


The Uniform Building Laws (Malaysia 1984) contain the Building Codes and Standards:

  1. Code of Practice for Means of Escape by Disabled Persons

  2. Code of Practice for Access for Disabled Persons to Public Buildings

  3. Code of Practice for Access for Disabled Persons Outside Buildings

  • Ministry of Local Government and Housing Act, (1990 amendment)
    [English] – [Bahasa Malaysia]


The Ministry of Local Government and Housing Act (1990 amendment) notes that a building where the public can access should provide facilities like ramps, parking for persons with disabilities and toilet. They also provide 6 per cent of special flat units under Public Housing Projects to persons with disabilities, with an option to choose the ground floor in the case of walk-up flat and the first floor where lifts are provided (Malaysia 2003).

c) Disability-inclusive laws and regulations


  • Early detection, early intervention and education




  • Education Amendment Act, 2002
    [English] – [Bahasa Malaysia]


The Education Amendment Act makes six years of primary education compulsory for all children including children with disabilities (Malaysia 2007a).

3. Policies and plans


a) Disability-specific policies and plans
i. Comprehensive disability-specific policies and plans


  • National Policy for Persons with Disabilities, followed by the National Plan of Action 
    [English] – [Bahasa Malaysia]


The National Policy for Persons with Disabilities acknowledges the rights of persons with disabilities to full participation in the Malaysian society, to equal opportunities and access under the relevant laws, to the elimination of discrimination against persons with disabilities and to the advocacy of the rights of persons with disabilities through public education (Malaysia 2007a).

ii. Sectoral disability-specific policies and plans


  • Early detection, early intervention and education

In accordance with the Education Amendment Act (2002), “the Department of Education has also established early intervention programmes for children aged five and above with hearing and visual disabilities in special education as well as in mainstream schools. While maintaining the special education programmes in special schools, emphasis is also given towards inclusion programmes. The inclusion programme includes full inclusion for children with disabilities that are placed fully in mainstream classes and partial inclusion for children with disabilities that are placed in mainstream classes for certain subjects only.” (Malaysia 2007a)

The Family Health Development Division of the Ministry of Health has taken initiatives to improve the detection of children with disability. From 2005 to 2006, the Ministry of Health instituted a revision of the 0-18 Child Health Programme, to be introduced as a pilot in 2008, with a view to improve screening of medical and developmental problems in children. The revised Child Health Programme includes specific developmental screening at 5 months, 12 months, 18 months and 4 years (Amar-Singh 2008).



The Programme also introduces a formal anticipatory guidance component and strongly encourages health professionals to take note of parental concerns of developmental delay. Among the screening tools used will be the child developmental check list to assess parental concerns, MCHAT (Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers) at 18 months and Learning Disorders screen at 4 years. This will allow for early identification of developmental/learning problems and early placement in specialized preschool/school services (Amar-Singh 2008).

  • Self-help organizations of persons with disabilities and related family and parent associations

The Government provides financial grants to support the development and formation of such self-help organizations. These organizations are also invited to be involved in policy and programme planning undertaken by the various Ministries and Departments on issues involving them (Malaysia 2007).

  • Women with disabilities

A Technical Working Group on Women with Disabilities has been established under the National Advisory and Consultative Council to look into issues concerning women with disabilities and to take measures to safeguard their rights (Malaysia 2007a).

  • Training and employment

Employment protection policies and measures for persons with disabilities have been initiated, including the following:

  1. An employment quota of 1 per cent of jobs in the government sector is reserved for persons with disabilities.

  2. A Code of Practice for Employment of Disabled Persons in the Private Sector

  3. A registration system for job placement of persons with disabilities with the Ministry of Human Resources.

  4. Tax incentives to employers providing assistive equipment and remunerations paid to disabled employees.

  5. To encourage more persons with disabilities to enter the work force, an incentive allowance of Malaysia ringgit 200 is given to those earning less than Malaysia ringgit 750 by the Department of Social Welfare. Launching grants are available for those interested to start their own business. For those who want to expand their business, grants are available from the Ministry of Human Resources on conditions on which persons with disabilities are employed as part of the work force (Malaysia 2007a).

  • Access to built environments and public transport




  • Guidelines on Building Requirements for Disabled Persons
    [English] – [Bahasa Malaysia]


The Guidelines on Building Requirements for Disabled Persons are a condition for building plan approval (Malaysia 2007a). 

  • Poverty alleviation through capacity building, social security and sustainable livelihood programmes

Persons with disabilities who are poor are entitled to receive assistance under the various financial schemes administered by the Department of Social Welfare. In addition, persons with disabilities are also entitled to financial assistance for the purchase of assistive devices and artificial aids. Children with disabilities who attend schools or any form of training under the non-governmental Organizations or community-based rehabilitation programmes are also given special monthly allowance to enable them to continue their education or training within the community setting (Malaysia 2007a).

b) Disability-inclusive policies and plans


  • Malaysian Education Development Master Plan (EDMP), 2006–2010 
    [English] – [Bahasa Malaysia]


The Malaysian Education Development Master Plan (EDMP) 2006–2010, includes children with disabilities aged two to four in early intervention programmes. Steps have been taken to train pre-school teachers to equip them with special skills in early intervention. The Master Plan also provides for new approaches in the writing of Individual Education Plan (IEP) as well as upgrading classroom infrastructures and equipments (Malaysia 2007a).

  • National Social Welfare Policy
    [English] – [Bahasa Malaysia]


The Report on the National Social Welfare Policy identifies persons with disabilities as a special target group. According to the Malaysian Government, the policy "reflects the government’s view that disability is no longer a charity issue, and acknowledges that persons with disabilities have a right to the full participation in the mainstream of economic and social development.' (Malaysia 2007)

  • National Strategic Framework for Bridging Digital Divide
    [English] – [Bahasa Malaysia]


Persons with disabilities are one of the target groups identified in the National Strategic Framework for Bridging Digital Divide – which focus on equitable access to affordable PCs and on line services and increasing computer literacy. PDKNet, a special portal developed by the Department of Social Welfare, is designed to establish a knowledge-based community in issues relating to disabilities and working towards full acceptance and integration of Persons with disabilities (Malaysia, 2007).

4. Institutional framework and Government focal point

A number of ministries/organizations are involved in providing services for persons with disabilities, including the following (Malaysia 2003):


  1. Department of Social Welfare

  2. Ministry of Health

  3. Ministry of Local Government and Housing

  4. Ministry of Rural Development

  5. Inland Revenue Department

  6. Ministry of Education (Special Education)

  7. Department of Registration

  8. Social Security Organization

  • Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development

The Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development is the line ministry in charge of disability issues.

  • National Council for People with Disabilities

The National Council for People with Disabilities, established in 2008 under the Persons with Disabilities Act (Malaysia 2008), is the coordinating and monitoring body on programmes and commitments regarding persons with disabilities. The Council is chaired by the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development with the Secretary General from relevant ministries as members. The Council constitutes a platform for the collaboration and coordination among the various ministries, departments, non-governmental organizations and persons with disabilities themselves.

5. Useful links

Beautiful Gate Foundation for the Disabled (BGFD)



http://english.beautifulgate.org.my
Malaysian Information Network on Disabilities 
www.mind.org.my
Organizations working in the field of disability in Malaysia include the National Council of Cheshire Homes Malaysia www.globalknowledge.org
United Voice

www.unitedvoice.com.my
6. References

Amar-Singh HSS (2008). “Meeting the needs of Children with Disability in Malaysia, Medical Journal of Malaysia, Vol.63 No.1, March, accessed from www.crc.gov.my/documents/J08-50_MeetingtheNeedsofChildrenwithDisabilityinMalaysia.pdf on 26 July 2011.

Malaysia (2003). “Country Paper: Malaysia”, presented at the Workshop on Improving Disability Data for Policy Use, Bangkok, Thailand, 23-26 September 2003, accessed from www.worldenable.net/escapstats/papermalaysia.htm on 6 October 2010.

_______ (2007a). Malaysia’s Statement on the Mid-Point Review of the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action, accessed from www.worldenable.net/bmf5/speechmalaysia.htm on 6 October 2010.

_______ (2007b). Policy for Persons with Disabilities, enacted 16 November 2007, accessed from www.jkm.gov.my/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=88&Itemid=872&lang=en on 26 July 2011.

_______ (2008). Persons with Disabilities Act 2008 (Act 685), accessed from www.mind.org.my/images/upload/file/Persons%20With%20Disabilities%20Act%202008.pdf on 6 October 2010.



_______ (2011). Yeoh Joo Ai, Department of Social Welfare Malaysia, electronic communication with ESCAP dated 31 March 2011.

Last updated: 17 October 2011.


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