Why I want to scream (most days)
I feel I’ve been rather remiss of late for not blogging about the Rio Paralympics and the athletes taking part. Unfortunately Malaysian tv didn’t have live coverage of the games like the regular event so it was tricky to keep across what was going on.
Britain did amazingly well with 147 medals and the athletes received heroes’ welcomes when they arrived home.
Malaysia did great too – entering athletes in six disciplines and coming home with three golds – considered their best Games ever. They did even better than their able-bodied colleagues.
So chuffed was the government about their achievements it announced the gold medallists would receive one million ringgit each (about US$250,000) as a well-deserved reward.
Such a monetary gift would not go amiss anywhere. How often after all does a government ever give its citizens cash? (especially free cash)
The Malaysian government is actually quite generous with what it will allow Malaysians to get back from them if they are disabled.
There’s a 9,000 Malaysian ringgit ($2250) tax credit for being disabled annually, a bit more for incurable diseases, plus medical expenses.
You can also get discounts on road tax, on public transport and on Malaysian airlines (50% off !!!!!)
There’s money for parents with disabled kids, work placement assistance, and help with education.
In short, a pretty good package if you’ve got the will, patience and sanity to wade through all the red tape and government bureaucracy.
But to get this bundle of cash goodies there’s a catch. You also gotta register for an OKU card…
OKU – people of lesser abilities remember ? (My last post)
And remember what I said about stigma and disability here in Malaysia?
Perhaps just 200,000 people registered as disabled out of at least 2.5 million people with disabilities (PWDs) countrywide.
Maybe the government found the three million ringgit for the gold medallists from the cash it has saved by not encouraging more disabled people to claim what they are entitled to.
*A declaration of self-interest here for this blog: despite being a higher rate tax payer, I am not entitled to tax relief for being disabled.
I am Malaysian enough to pay tax, but not Malaysian enough to claim credit, say the government bean counters.
I need an OKU card from the Social Welfare department.
And while I have no stigma about being described as disabled, the Social Welfare department says being wheelchair bound and unable to walk or stand is not disabled enough because I am not Malaysian.
Now before you all accuse me of money grabbing, many of the benefits are means tested so I would not qualify anyway. I am just asking for relief from tax on money I’ve earned. I’m not asking for a handout (though I’ll admit, 50% off air tickets would be really cool 🙂 )
I’m going to present myself in person to the Social Welfare department next week to see if a physical meeting makes a difference. Keep you updated.