Mon, 15 Dec 2003

Access sough for disabled voters

JAKARTA: Social affairs minister Bachtiar Chamsyah has called on the General Elections Commission (KPU) to provide adequate facilities for disabled voters so that they can exercise their rights in the 2004 election.

"The provision of facilities for disabled voters will reflect equal rights to vote as between disabled and other voters," Bachtiar said on Sunday.

Some six to eight million out of 12 million disabled persons in Indonesia --including the blind, deaf, and the handicapped-- are eligible to vote in the 2004 elections.

Article 88 of Law No. 12/2003 on elections stipulates that voting booths must be easily accessible to disabled voters. The law also guarantees that each voter can vote directly, freely and confidentially.

"The voting booths must be put in a place that can be reached by a handicapped person's wheelchair, and if necessary there must be instructions in braille for the blind and trained officers to help the deaf," Bachtiar said.

According to Bachtiar, his ministry has also asked regents and mayors to help provide facilities for the disabled in their respective jurisdictions. -- Antara