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Asia Community Service Concerned Over Job Security for the Disabled
Source: theborneopost.com
Source Date: Friday, January 11, 2013
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Created: Jan 15, 2013

KUCHING: Asia Community Service, a non-profit organisation providing services to people with special needs, has expressed concern about employment security for OKU (people with disabilities) workers following the recently enforced minimum wage.

Chief executive officer Khor Ai-Na said the new policy – despite being implemented to ensure a decent pay for every employed individual – might force some employers to lay off workers with special needs.

“Should this happen, it will be indeed very demoralising for OKU and their families,” she said in a media statement yesterday.

Khor noted: “OKU have perpetually been marginalised in receiving equal opportunities especially in the areas of education, training and employment.

“We are grateful for the Elaun Pekerja Cacat (EPC) from the Social Welfare Department which has been a great incentive for OKU to receive gainful employment.

“There are many OKU with diverse needs and heath conditions who are not able to hold competitive jobs in the open market. Moreover, they are handicapped further by the lack of accessible transportation and non-conducive work environments.”

As such, she was pleased that non-government organisations (NGOs) had taken several initiatives to provide services for this population through supported employment and sheltered workshops.

NGOs nationwide, according to her, have created a substantial workforce in the community, enabling OKU to be an asset rather than a liability to society.

“Needless to say, with funding constraints and limited resources, many NGOs are already struggling to comply with the minimum wage order for staff working with the OKU.”

Hence, she hoped that the government would consider an increase in the work incentive allowance (EPC) so that OKU could also cope with the rising costs of living.

“Also, the government should allow an exemption from this minimum wage order for all NGOs that employ OKU in their organisations or sheltered workshops.

“We also hope that the government will enforce the one per cent employment policy of OKU for both the public and private sectors so that OKU can be securely employed.”

Besides stimulating the market economy, Khor believed that keeping OKU in the workforce would enable them to enjoy a meaningful role and lead a dignified life in society.

“This is not just a social responsibility but a social obligation of the nation.”

For details or the role and function of Asia Community Service, visit its website www.asiacommunityservice.org.
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