BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports is (MCYS) currently conducting a national survey to improve policies and support services for people with disabilities, including access to employment.

MCYS minister YB Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Aminuddin Ihsan Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Hj Abidin said the first phase of the research is complete, which gathered information about employment for disabled people in the government and private sector.

The latest available statistics from 2018 showed that just 56 people with disabilities were employed in the government sector, while there was no data available for the private sector.

“Data from the government agencies alone might not represent the true picture, so we need to get information from government-linked companies and the private sector to understand the full picture,” the minister told The Scoop in a recent interview.

“We can’t draw early conclusions from the initial data because there are many factors affecting employment for people with disabilities — maybe stigma from employers, families being reluctant to let their loved ones work. It could be very complicated, so through the analysis, we need to understand what the issues are.”

There has been more concerted effort in the past two years to create job training schemes for people with disabilities, particularly adults with autism. The National Association of the Blind has also expressed interest in setting up a job training centre for the visually-impaired.

Disabilities rights activists have also called for government-run apprenticeship programmes such as i-Ready programme and the Centre for Capacity Building to be extended to people with disabilities.

The national survey on people with disabilities is expected to be completed in 2020.