LABUAN: Senator Datuk Ras Adiba Radzi today reiterated her call to employers nationwide to provide equal job opportunities to Persons with Disabilities (PwDs).

"What we have not seen, though, is evidence of progress towards equal opportunity in employment to Persons with Disabilities ... please treat PwDs equally, look at our abilities rather than disabilities," the president of OKU Sentral, an association that champions the cause of PwDs, told reporters after witnessing the handing over of COVID-19 protection materials to the Labuan Autism Centre, here.

Ras Adiba, who is the voice for PwDs in the Dewan Negara, noted that one of the problems in this area was that detailed statistics were hard to come by.

"But it seems clear enough that the rates of unemployment and underemployment among Persons with Disabilities remain much higher than for people without disabilities, and average income levels for people with disabilities remain substantially lower.

"At the overall level, for Malaysian society, it is hard to see evidence of Persons with Disabilities being able to enjoy equally the economic and social benefits that come from equality of opportunity and participation in employment," she said.

Ras Adiba said employment opportunities should be given equally to PwDs so that they are able to contribute their skills and abilities to their full potential.

"I am not here to offer a definitive view of what should be done about this ... my main purpose is actually to call on employers to contribute their own experience and expertise to broader debate on how to open the door to equal employment opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, not only in the specific context of disability employment services but throughout the Malaysian economy."

Ras Adiba, who is also Bernama chairman, called on the government to consider increasing the monthly allowance rate of RM450 for employed PwDs and RM300 for unemployed PwDs by an additional RM100 to help reduce their cost of living burden.

At the event, European Credit Investment Bank Ltd, an offshore investment bank, donated 200 boxes of face masks and 40 bottles of sanitiser as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative.