File picture of a disabled man who had to get out of his wheelchair to climb to the first floor of the Welfare Department.
PETALING JAYA: The allocation from the government for the disabled community is simply not enough to survive say several NGOs, who are hoping that Budget 2014 will set aside more money to meet their needs.
Currently the Welfare Department providing hands out an allowance of RM300 per month to persons with disabilities (PWD), who are earning less than RM1200 a month.
A monthly sum of RM150 is provided to PWDs in schools or attending community-based rehabilitation (CBR) centres.
Those who are bedridden or confined at home and unable to go to CBR centres receive RM300 a month.
Selangor and Federal Territory Association for the mentally handicapped (SAMH) general manager T. Kamaraj says that the money is simply not enough.
"The cost of living is really high. If you do simple calculations and take into account the cost of renting a room, food and transport, RM300 is definitely not enough," said Kamaraj.
"What can you do with RM300? That is like pocket money for students. That amount is definitely not enough to cover the cost of living today," he added.
Kamaraj also adds that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) helping the disabled should receive more monetary support from the government.
"If you talk to NGO's they will say that a lack of funds is a problem. Because we don't have the funds, we can't provide quality service to assist the disabled community," said Kamaraj.
Sia Siew Chin, executive director of Beautiful Gate Foundation For The Disabled agrees that the allowance given to the disabled is insufficient to cover basic expenses.
“The purpose for the low amount is to encourage people with disabilities (PWD) to work, but the amount is still not enough,” she says.
“They are the poorest of the poor. Most of them are jobless or have a job with low income,” said Sia.
Murugeswaran Veerasamy, the president of Damai Disabled Persons Association of Selangor and Federal Territory and a wheelchair user for the past 25 years, believes that more should be done to help the disabled.
“I will not deny that the government has continuously allocated sums for the betterment of disabled community in this country,” he said.
“But I truly believe that the amount allocated is not sufficient to create a barrier-free environment to enable the disabled to lead an independent life,” said Murugeswaran.
“Benefits and help do the disabled receive from the government has improved but not to level where we could solely depend on the support,” he said.
Murugeswaran suggested that the amount should increase to RM500, and the RM150 allocated to unemployed PWD should be increased to RM300.