Laws to protect rights of PWDs
Mr Laurence Lien
Nominated Member of Parliament
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development whether the Ministry will consider strengthening existing laws to protect the rights of persons with disabilities.
The Ministry shares Mr Lien’s concern for persons with disabilities.
Through the Enabling Masterplan, we have made encouraging progress in improving the lives of persons with disabilities, including in the areas of early intervention, education, employment, adult care and accessibility. Singapore also ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities last year. This underscores our collective commitment to strive towards providing persons with disabilities with full opportunities to become equal and integral members of society.
Singapore has laws to protect its citizens, deter crime against adults and protect employees’ rights, and these cover all persons including those with disabilities. We review our policies and laws from time to time to ensure that they remain relevant and adequate in meeting the needs of persons with disabilities. For example, the Children and Young Persons Act was amended in 2011 to provide for licensing of children homes to accord better protection of children in residential care. The regulation extends to homes for children with disability.
Where necessary, we have also introduced specific laws to support persons with disabilities. For example, the Mental Capacity Act enacted in 2010 safeguards the interest of those who lose their mental capacity, including persons with intellectual disability. The Central Provident Fund Act was amended in 2011 to provide for the implementation of the Special Needs Savings Scheme, which ensure that the financial needs of disabled children are taken care of through their deceased parents’ CPF monies. The Building Construction Authority’s Code on Accessibility 2013 mandates buildings to incorporate requirements to cater to people with different impairments.
Beyond enacting laws, encouraging change in wider public attitudes and mindsets towards persons with disabilities is equally important. In March last year, the National Council of Social Service launched the “We are Able!” campaign to raise awareness of the UN Convention, as well as to encourage Singaporeans to pledge achievable actions towards building a more inclusive society. We must continue with such efforts.