It goes without saying that the disabled should be afforded the same rights as able-bodied people, but more often than not, they are the ones who get sidelined.
Sadly, this appears to be the case for Ishak Awi, a 59-year-old disabled man who claims he is not eligible for any financial aid under the Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) 2019 payouts.
Ishak, who was born without fully formed legs and a paralysed left arm, and his plight went viral after former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak posted a picture of him on Facebook yesterday (February 21). The post was accompanied by this caption, translated roughly from Malay:
“(Finance Minister) Guan Eng, take a good look at the face of Mr Ishak Awi. He is a single man. He is an OKU (Orang Kurang Upaya) from Kuala Terengganu. He is nearly 60 years old. He used to get RM450 every year. This year, he would have received RM650 if BN (Barisan Nasional) is still in power. He is not even eligible for the RM100 payout for single people under Bantuan Sara Hidup that was announced a few days ago. The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government rejected his application. How cruel our current government is.”
The post has since gone viral, attracting over 46k reactions and 6,388 shares at the time of this post. In the comments section, many expressed sympathy and distress over the man’s dire situation, while others agreed with Najib’s caption, saying they felt times were better when Barisan Nasional was at the helm. Looks like the post sparked plenty of debate, to say the least!
At the same time, Ishak has also attracted considerable media attention. In an interview with Utusan Online yesterday evening (21 Feb), Ishak said that he currently works as an assistant in a shoe repair shop at the Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu (MBKT) bazaar, and feels that even RM100 will only be sufficient to pay for a month’s worth of bus fares. He, along with others like him, have waited on the payout year after year, only to be severely disappointed when they were informed that they did not meet the criteria.
Source: Utusan Online
“The cost of going back and forth every day is RM3.20. I help sell shoe soles at my boss’s store. My salary is inconsistent, but if I get to sell a pair of soles I could get RM15 to RM20 for one of them.”
If this is indeed true, we hope this will help get the word out on his predicament, and that he will soon get the help he needs! What do you think of this issue? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
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