Disabled `storm’ Malaysian parliament

May 9th, 2008 - 3:25 pm ICT by admin  


Kuala Lumpur, May 9(IANS) Thirty angry wheelchair-bound citizens “stormed” the Malaysian parliament to demand apologies from two members who had made remarks disparaging to the disabled while confronting Indian origin lawmaker Karpal Singh. Members of the Malaysians Against the Discrimination of the Disabled (MADD) Thursday booed two ruling coalition members, demanded disciplinary action against them and urged that Dewan Rakyat, the country’s parliament, be made “disabled-friendly”.

A senior opposition leader, Singh, 68, has been wheelchair-bound after a road accident in 2005.

The two members under attack of the disabled, Bung Mokhtar Radin and Ibrahim Ali, had asked wheelchair-bound Karpal Singh to stand up and show respect to the speaker.

Ali apologised to the handicapped people and said: “I never offended the handicapped as I only had problem with Karpal Singh.”

“I hope you (all) do not misunderstand. There are groups that politicised the issue and took advantage of you all. Honestly, from the bottom of my heart, I love very much all the disabled people,” Ali was quoted by The Sun newspaper Friday.

Ali said he had also proposed that all the handicapped received a RM500 ($15 approx.) monthly allowance.

However, when opposition member Lim Lip Eng asked whether he would apologise to Karpal Singh, Ali said he would not. The physically challenged visitors then booed him.

The coalition representatives then decided not to accept his earlier apology.

Radin said: “It was never in my mind and heart to discredit or look down on the disabled. In my constituency, I take care of them and build houses for them, but I did not see Karpal Singh representing the disabled.”

His ire was against an intervention by Singh.

“As a disabled, he should act like one, but his mouth is not like a disabled,” said Radin, but added in a conciliatory tone: “I did not mean to hurt the disabled, if I am wrong, I apologise.”

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