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Javed Abidi’s workshop leads to setting up of Disability Rights Group - Malaysia

D.N.I.S. News Network, India: It started off with misgivings, apprehensions and a lot of pessimism. But half a day into the workshop for Malaysian disabled rights activists organised by United Nations Development Programme in Kuala Lumpur on March 3 and conducted by Javed Abidi, Honorary Director, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (N.C.P.E.D.P.), the first steps towards a cross disability movement seemed to have been taken.

Abidi started off with the story of his entry into the Indian disability sector and the beginning of the disability rights movement in the early 90s with the formation of the Disabled Rights Group (D.R.G.) in 1993. He went on to speak about the fight for the Disability Act of 1995 and the need for a cross disability structure.

Disabled activists present at the workshop were candid in their confession that Malaysia did not have a cross disability culture. Although an effort was made in 1987 and the Malaysian Confederation of the Disabled (M.C.D.) was set up, it fizzled out soon enough. A few leaders felt that it was due to the lack of leadership.

But Abidis talk about national pride and the strength of unity inspired the activists and leaders present agreed to meet on March 6.

In the meeting that happened on that day, eight of them met and a Disability Rights Group - Malaysia has now been formed and an E-discussion group established. It was also decided that the group would meet regularly.