New roadmap for people with disabilities

Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin with Ms Anita Fam, who chairs the 22-member committee for the third Enabling Masterplan.
Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin with Ms Anita Fam, who chairs the 22-member committee for the third Enabling Masterplan.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Committee to develop 5-year plan to focus on more employment help, caregivers' support

Greater inclusiveness for people with disabilities and more support for their caregivers.

These will be part of the focus of the third Enabling Masterplan - a blueprint to guide the development of policies, programmes, services and other support for those with disabilities. A 22-member committee to develop the five-year plan was announced yesterday by Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin at the Enabling Village in Lengkok Bahru.

Chaired by Ms Anita Fam, a board member of the National Council of Social Service, it comprises people from the public and private sectors, including people with disabilities and caregivers. They include Ms Chia Yong Yong, president of voluntary welfare organisation SPD, which supports people with disabilities, and Ms Denise Phua, president of the Autism Resource Centre.

The third masterplan will look into a more seamless transition through stages in life - within the education system and towards employment - for people with disabilities. It will also look into support for caregivers.

"Even if you help with employment, that makes a lot of difference (to families)," said Mr Tan. Individuals may be left without a job after completing school, leaving families "stretched", he added.

  • Panel members

  • Ms Anita Fam (chairman), board member, National Council of Social Service; Mr Abdul Majeed Abdul Khader, director, senior consultant psychologist, Singapore Police Force; Mr Andrew Buay, vice- president, group corporate social responsibility, Singtel; Mr Ang Wei Neng, senior vice-president, SBS Transit; Mr Ang Wei Tech, associate chair (research), School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University; Mr Ardi S. Hardjoe, chief executive officer, Thye Hua Kwan Nursing Home; Ms Chia Yong Yong, president, SPD; Mr Chong Kwek Bin, IT programme executive, Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped; Professor Chong Siow Ann, vice-chairman, medical board (research), senior consultant, Institute of Mental Health; Mr Daniel Tan, board member, Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore; Ms Denise Phua, president, Autism Resource Centre; Mr Hao Chun T, programme manager; Mr Lam Yi Young, deputy secretary, Ministry of Education; Dr Lee Tung Jean, deputy secretary, Ministry of Social and Family Development; Mr Karthikeyan J.R., director, disability support, education and development, family and caregiver support, AWWA; Ms Ku Geok Boon, CEO, SG Enable; Ms Margaret Heng, CEO, Shatec; Mr Raja Singh, founder and owner, DNR Wheels; Ms Tan Ping Ling, deputy director, human resource, NTUC FairPrice; Ms Teoh Zsin Woon, deputy secretary, Ministry of Health; Ms Tina Hung, deputy CEO, National Council of Social Service; Dr Winnie Goh, senior consultant, department of paediatrics, neurology service, KK Women's and Children's Hospital.

Ms Fam believes more can be done to ensure caregivers know of the avenues of help available, by having resources that are more easily obtainable.

There is also a need to alleviate their worry that no one will be around to care for their loved ones if they are no longer around.

Mr Keh Eng Song, chief executive officer of the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled Singapore, said: "Caregiver support will be increasingly important because we want them to be empowered, and not be dependent on service providers all the time."

Mr Tan also reiterated the need to incorporate national policies and schemes, such as SkillsFuture and Smart Nation, into the new plan.

For example, under SkillsFuture - a movement to boost skill levels and promote lifelong learning - new modules will be developed for people with disabilities.

"Some of the employers have specific needs, therefore we develop specific training modules so that those with disabilities are trained and can move in quite seamlessly to their jobs as well," Mr Tan said.

The masterplan will build on the progress made by previousplans.

This includes making more community facilities and public transport services more friendly for those with disabilities, and improving their career prospects.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 03, 2016, with the headline 'New roadmap for people with disabilities'. Print Edition | Subscribe