Persons with disabilities can be valuable resource in workforce
More employers here commit to hiring those with disabilities
Growing up with an intellectual disability, Mr Danial Affandy worried that he would not be able to find a job.
At times he would struggle to grasp concepts and have difficulty communicating.
But the 20-year-old has been working as a stewarding coordinator at the Pan Pacific Hotel for the last two years.
Mr Danial's responsibilities include cleaning, dishwashing and operating and maintaining cleaning equipment.
Minister of State for Manpower and National Development Zaqy Mohamad announced in Parliament on March 3 during the Committee of Supply Debate that the Government will provide stronger support for employers of persons with disabilities (PWDs) and their employees.
Following the announcement, Pan Pacific Hotels Group pledged its part to empower PWDs by offering them more employment opportunities in a variety of roles.
Mr Danial's supervisor, Mr Michele Greggio, 43, an executive chef at the hotel, said having diversity in the workforce is an important step in building an inclusive and compassionate society.
The Italian, who has been working here for four years, said: "I'm always happy to see Danial at work.
"He's always smiling and he communicates well with his co-workers and I am pleased with his work performance."
The hotels group is one of 110 employers who have made a commitment to hire more PWDs. It now employs 26 PWDs, nine of them trainees.
Speaking to reporters at the Pan Pacific Hotel yesterday, Mr Zaqy said: "As a developed country, it is important for us to have an inclusive workforce, and look towards how we can include PWDs in our growth.
"They can be a valuable resource to our firms if you create an environment for them to be able to contribute."
Mr Zaqy said about 30 per cent of people with disabilities are employed in the workforce.
He said: "I hope more employers will diversify their workforce. Hiring PWDs and giving them meaningful employment can be an alternative resource to the foreign workforce."
Ms Wee Wei Ling, 67, executive director of asset, lifestyle and corporate social responsibility at Pan Pacific, said: "We believe PWDs are also a part of us and we should give them an opportunity to earn a living."
She added: "As a mother myself, I want to give their caregivers and parents the reassurance that they too can be given dignified employment despite the disabilities they might have."