In celebration of the International Day for Persons with Disabilities on December 3, the General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA) conducted a series of interviews on the launch of the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025: Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. AGENDA, a network of DPOs and election-focused CSOs in Southeast Asia, was founded by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in 2011. The Enabling Masterplan, a regional policy document launched by ASEAN in December 2018, includes action points intended to be implemented by ASEAN sectoral bodies and member states by 2025. An English transcript of the interview with Professor Asiah Abdul Rahim, Architect and Access Audit Consultant at the International Islamic University in Malaysia, is available below and has been edited for clarity.
Wong: I have here with me Professor Dato’ Asiah Abdul Rahim. She is a well-known architect and Access Audit Consultant in Malaysia and she is attached to the International Islamic University. So, Professor, what will be your commitment toward the implementation of this Masterplan?
Professor Asiah: Thank you very much, Mr. Yoon Long Wong, from the DPOs of Malaysia. First of all, I would like to congratulate for the launching of the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025, Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Bangkok. I think this is timely that ASEAN should have its own Masterplan, so that we can see more things forward in terms of implementing and do strategy to develop the ASEAN region, especially on accessibility. We understood there are three pillars focusing on politics and security, economy, social and culture. So, from my perspective, I am looking at the aspect of sustainability, especially in the built environment… I think the key things for this are that [persons with disabilities can] enter buildings, whether for a job opportunity, education, employment and also mobility in terms of transportation. I believe that in order to have good connectivity from one place to another, from one region to another, even from one country to another, having good transportation is a key thing. What I mean is transportation in terms of airports, ports, trains, as well as buses, so that people with disabilities, whether they are wheelchair users or [have visual or hearing disabilities], can have good mobility using good transportation. Other than that, good housing is very important, as well, by having a better layout for [persons with disabilities], good toilet facilities, and so on. IT is also a key thing for people to communicate from one place to another, from one country to another, and also that [people with disabilities] have more opportunities to enhance their knowledge.
Wong: Thank you. That’s very encouraging and we look forward to working together with you for the full implementation of this Masterplan by 2025.
Professor Asiah: Thank you so much, Mr. Wong.