Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak urged the public and private sector to provide job opportunities for disabled persons so that they can lead proud and dignified lives.

He said this group of people should be given opportunities to improve themselves so they do not make up for their deficiency by seeking sympathy, but instead prove that they too are able to work like everyone else and contribute to national development.

The prime minister said the government also practised productive welfare which was aimed at the disabled community by providing business opportunities through the Kebajikan Rakyat 1Malaysia’s (KAR1SMA) Teman 1Azam OKU programme.

“We see how figures like Professor Stephen Hawking of Britain who suffers from ‘motor neuron disease’ and is almost completely paralysed and can only communicate via a special tool, has been able to make invaluable contributions to the community at large.

“And in Malaysia itself, we still remember the success of the renowned economic expert Senator Prof Datuk Dr Ismail Md Salleh, who is blind. All these should serve as examples that it does not mean that if one is disabled, one cannot contribute to the country, oneself and family,” Najib said.

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