Seminar Kemandirian NGO/PSK OKU on 16 July 2019 at MAKPEM, KL – Attended by Hibatullah Romli (Research Committee of OT Malaysia) and Farahiyah Wan Yunus (Deputy Secretary).
Malaysian Occupational Therapy Association (OT-Malaysia) was invited to attend the ‘Seminar Kemandirian NGO/PSK OKU’ organised by Majlis Pemulihan Malaysia and Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development at MAKPEM, Kuala Lumpur on 16th July 2019. The seminar was attended by 55 organisations related to people with disabilities.
The objective of the seminar is to empower the organisations and to encourage collaboration among the organisations for the benefit of the organisation’s members. Insightful presentations among the speakers touched on topics related to Persons with Disabilities Act 2008 (Act 685) and the benefits of registering for an OKU card. A sharing session from Yayasan Gamuda on their job coach programme through Enabling Academy is an applaudable effort. Some experiences shared by Rumah Amal Cheshire Selangor on job coach training and fund-raising activities was an eye-opening. The job coaches were supported by many big companies in Malaysia such as Uniqlo, Tesco, Aeon Jusco, KFC, McDonald and many more. The Treasury Special Grants was also presented by the ministry where it can be utilised by the organisations and its members. Challenges and difficulties faced by people with disabilities were also raised and discussed in the seminar with the representative from the Ministry. At the end of the seminar, a strong networking was established between OT-Malaysia with the organisations.
There is a room for occupational therapy to further promote the discipline with the government and other organisations. OT-Malaysia should also have a voice in each level of service from consulting the clients and the non-government organisations to the administration such as involving in the policy development. Currently, the role of occupational therapy is unheard by the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development. The role of occupational therapy has been taken over by medical professionals as the only qualified personnel under the act to verify the disability status of an individual. Meanwhile, job coaching and job training have no occupational therapists involvement and other professionals have taken over the responsibility. Hence, the organisations conducted activities with whatever limited resources and manpower they have where occupational therapy can actually play an important role here. Nevertheless, organisations are eager to involve occupational therapy when they hear about the discipline. Limited number of occupational therapists in Malaysia contributes to these issues.
This is a challenge yet an opportunity for occupational therapy in Malaysia to look into. Occupational therapy needs to be innovative, proactive and think forward to promote and expand the service for the greater good.