Disabled people in a newly industrialising economy: Opportunities and challenges in Malaysia
Malaysia is undergoing rapid socio-economic development, recording 8% economic growth in the period 1991-1993 and 8.5% in 1994 and 1995. The Malaysian government policy entitled VISION 2020 sets a target that by the year 2020, Malaysia will be an industrialised nation (Mahathir, 1990). Malaysia has a population of 19.5 million people and the government estimates that 1% of the population have some form of disabilities and therefore regarded as one of the disadvantaged minority communities in Malaysian society. As they are not an homogenous group and they may have special needs among the different groups, yet they share similar issues and challenges in an industrialising Malaysia. A majority of disabled persons in Malaysia have impairments which are birth related, congenital or acquired in early childhood. However, the number of persons with disabilities acquired during working life through industrial injury or automobile accidents is on the increase in Malaysian society.