KUALA LUMPUR: Professor Datuk Dr Ismail Md Salleh created history yesterday when he became the first blind person to be appointed a senator.
Ismail is the president of the Malaysian Association for the Blind.
Reading his oath in Braille to much applause and thumps of approval, the 60-year-old said he would make the elevation of the living standards of the disabled his priority and would champion the bill on Persons with Disabilities 2007.
Among others, he would fight for more rights and opportunities for the disabled in terms of rehabilitation, education, job vacancies as well as infrastructure.
“I also hope to be an encouragement to the disabled community, so that they know that their disabilities should not necessarily be an obstacle for them to succeed in life.
“Although Malaysia still lags behind developed countries in terms of helping the disabled to assimilate into the society at large, I believe that we have come a long way in providing equal opportunities for them.
Congratulations to our first blind senator. I’ll sure my late cousin, (Sa)kinah and her late husband Lebai Salleh would have been very happy with their son for his appointment as a senator. For someone who grow up in Kg. Gua, Salor, not far from Pasir Mas, the village folks must be very proud of him, I’m sure.