Only 0.8% People with Disabilities (PWD) Are Employed Full-time

Zaini Yaacob, Director of Johor Department of Labour, Viswanathan Paramasivam, Deputy President of Operation in Flex, Johor, Jacob Philip Kanianthara, Deputy President of Operation, Flex, Pulau Pinang, Yazid Bain, President of Johor Deaf Association, General Managers taking a commemoration photo with the 30 newly recruited PwDs in Flex Johor

Flex Malaysia makes employment for people with disabilities (PWD) as its inclusive effort

In a bid to not exclude anyone in employment, Flex Malaysia has launched its People with Disabilities (PwD) Programme in Johor in conjunction with its recent hiring of 30 PwD employees for its operations in Flex Skudai and Flex Port of Tanjung Pelepas, Johor.

The launch was part of Flex’s PwD Awareness Week in Johor and with its new addition of the 30 employees, in total Flex has hired 150 PwD employees nationwide with 120 employees hired since October 2018.

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PwDs singing the national anthem with sign language at the launching event

According to Viswanathan Pamasivam, Deputy President of Operation in Flex, Johor, there are 487,000 PwD in Malaysia and only 3,782 of them are officially hired making the PwD’s with permanent jobs at only 0.8%. Seeing the situation, Flex took the initiative to open their vacancies to PwDs and recruiting the hearing impaired since 2018 and has thus received the PwD-Friendly Employer recognition by the Human Resource Ministry, becoming the company with the largest PwD’s employees in Malaysia.

Attending and officiating the event is Zaini Yaacob, Director of Johor Department of Labour, making his remarks about Jobs Malaysia Centre that has been cooperating with Flex for the PwDs employment intake. The effort, he said, is part of government’s move in making employment available for PwDs together with the cooperation of private sectors.

Yazid Bain, President of Johor Deaf Association giving his speech in sign language

He also encourages more Johor companies to tweak their policies and employ PwDs in the future too. Zaini also added that Johor’s private sector has a collective of 57 employed PwDs as of 2019 and with the addition of the 30 Flex PwDs, it has now made it as 87 people in total now. It is still a very low number. Johor state since 2019 has also granted 8 PwD entrepreneurs with PwD Business Encouragement Aid Scheme (SBGPOKU) where the businesses would hire PwDs like them.

The hiring of PwDs through Flex is made possible through a partnership with the Johor Deaf Association where all of their 30 hired employees are hearing impaired. Yazid Bain, President of Johor Deaf Association in his speech has said that the employment through Flex has given hope to the hearing impaired where he shared his personal story on the hardship of getting a job himself.

Siti Hanim M Zulkepli (centre), Sign Language Interpreter from Yayasan Pembangunan Keluarga Darul Ta’zim (YPKDT) with 2 representatives of PwDs employee in Flex, Skudai (Front) and 2 from Flex, PTP (Back)

Ahmad Farid Zainal, 39, one of the 30 hired PwDs said, “Working environment in Flex is PwD-friendly where they have amenities that cater to the hearing impaired and made them feel safe at work”. Abd Rahman, 30, is working for the first time in his life at Flex in Production line and explained that the buddy system the company prepared for them helps a lot where one PwD is paired with one non-PwD employee at work.

Viswanathan said Flex has encouraged other employees to learn 5 sign language words per day by showing education video at their cafe every day. He also sees that it is possible to hire even more PwDs in the future while they are aiming to have at least 1% out of 4% PwDs in Malaysia hired under their wing by the year 2020.