Ms Anthea Ong
Nominated Member of Parliament
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) what is the employment rate for differently-abled persons in the last three years; (b) whether there are statistics on which groups of differently-abled persons are the most affected by unemployment and why; and (c) given the diversity of our society, whether matters affecting differently-abled groups are reported on and considered before a Bill is passed and, if not, whether there is a need for a governmental body to do so.
It was estimated that more than 8,600 persons with disabilities were employed in the private and public sector in 2017. This was an increase of nearly 9% from the figure in 2015. The Ministry of Social and Family Development and the Department of Statistics will also be collecting more information on persons with disabilities through the upcoming population census in 2020 which will provide further information and more accurate data on persons with disabilities. Like many of us, the challenges faced by different persons with disabilities during their journey towards employment could be unique to their circumstances, as this is dependent on the individual’s readiness and their prospective employers’ expectation. To maximise the potential of persons with disabilities and empower them to participate fully in society, we are working closely with employers to help them build inclusive working environments and to redesign jobs for persons with disabilities. For example, the School-to-Work Transition programme aims to support SPED students who are assessed to be work-capable to transition from school to employment. It has helped 120 Special Education students thus far, and will be fully rolled out to Special Education schools by 2019.
Before bills are introduced by the Government, the ministry introducing the bill consults other ministries, to ensure that the bill has taken into account relevant perspectives. Apart from the government departments, the consultation could be extended to an identified group of stakeholders, which could include members of the public, and representatives from both the private and people sector.
As the Member would know, after the introduction and first reading of the bill in Parliament, the bill is circulated to every Member of Parliament, and Members of Parliament can raise questions on the bill in the process and propose amendments.
The process provides ample avenue for input to be considered before any bill is passed, without the need for a separate governmental body to be established.