Desy Nurhayati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 12/06/2008 11:45 AM
The Indonesian Union of People with Disabilities (PPCI) called on government agencies to provide greater access and facilities for their members but acknowledged that the government has done much to improve their overall welfare.
The call was made by the group during its meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the State Palace to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Dec. 3.
"Greater effort should be taken to accelerate the implementation of the 2003-2014 National Action Plan for People with Disabilities," said PPCI chairman Siswadi.
The group asked various ministries to enhance their rights and status under the international Human Development Index by increasing their accessibility to education, health and job facilities.
"We ask the National Education Ministry to improve the quality of education and facilities for disabled individuals at every level of education. We also want the Public Works Ministry to provide us with more support," Siswadi said.
Yudhoyono asked companies to uphold the 1997 Law on People with Disabilities, which states that people with disabilities should make up at least 1 percent of total employees.
"The law says people with disabilities have the right to a proper job and to live full and successful lives. I want every company to fulfill that quota," he said in his speech.
The president also asked state and regional businesses to provide training to people with disabilities in order to improve their range of overall employment skills.
Yudhoyono said in terms of social security the government had distributed Rp 300,000 (US$25) cash every month to over 10,000 disabled persons and sought to expand the scheme to 17,000 persons.
"Although we are facing a global financial crisis, the government will still increase the number of recipients to 17,000 people next year," he said.
"The government is always serious about improving the welfare of people with disabilities, and we will continue our efforts."
Manpower and Transmigration Minister Erman Suparno said the number of people with disabilities hired for work had increased by 200 percent over the past five years.
"Seventy percent of companies have fulfilled the 1 percent employment quota, mainly from the manufacturing, telecommunication and garment sectors," he said, adding that the government would urge state enterprises to implement the rule.
During the event, the minister congratulated four companies for employing people with disabilities. They were PT Welling Jaya Sejati in Gresik, East Java, PT Indah Kiat Pulp and Paper in Riau and PT Tri Mitra Baterei Prakarsa and PT Denso Indonesia Corporation, both in North Jakarta.
Two people with disabilities, Ismet Mahir from Jakarta and Slamet Ananto Putro from Surakarta, also received awards from the Social Services Minister Bachtiar Chamsyah for their efforts campaigning for the improvement of rights.
Similar awards were also given to the PT Bank Tabungan Pensiunan branch at Makassar, South Sulawesi, and the Center of Education and Training for Disabled Children in Bandung.