Physical disability no obstacle to serving the people, says Dr Noraishah

Kalidevi Mogan Kumarappa

Neurobiologist Dr Noraishah Mydin is one of seven professional candidates announced by PKR to represent Pakatan Harapan in the 2022 general election. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Kamal Ariffin, November 14, 2022.

IT is easy to spot Pakatan Harapan’s candidate for the Putrajaya parliamentary seat, Dr Noraishah Mydin, when she is on her campaign rounds – she is the one in the wheelchair.

Neurobiologist Noraishah has suffered from spina bifida, a condition that affects the spine, since birth.

However, the former Universiti Malaysia (UM) senior lecturer said her disability was never a determining factor for PKR to pick her to take on incumbent and former minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.

She said she is a candidate in the coming polls because of her fight for change and not because of her disability, and that if she wins, she will represent all and not just the disabled. 

“I am here for all the people, not just the disabled, because there are still many shortcomings that need to be fixed by the previous government,” she said in an interview at her office.

She is one of the seven professional candidates announced by PKR to represent Pakatan Harapan (PH) in the 2022 general election.

“This is a call from God to continue the struggle for the disabled community and all the people of Putrajaya who want positive change and leaders who are corruption-free,” she said. 

The seat is also contested by caretaker education minister Mohd Radzi Md Jidin for Perikatan Nasional (PN), Mohd Rosli Ramli from Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA), and two independent candidates – lawyer Lim Fice Bee and consumer activist Samsudin Mohamad Fauzi.

In the 2018 polls, Tengku Adnan retained the seat he had held since 2004, but with a reduced number of votes – a drop of almost 20%.

Noraishah, 47, is the only disabled candidate in the coming general election, which has a record 945 candidates, the highest in Malaysia’s election history.

The former academic has experience conducting research in the field of genetics and medical biotechnology. 

Noraishah resigned as a lecturer from the Parasitology Department of the UM Faculty of Medicine on November 4, a day before the nomination of candidates. 

“I don’t regret my decision to quit. I am here because there are still many leaders and Malaysians who are less sensitive to the needs of the disabled. They face issues a such as accessibility to toilets, parking, vaccinations and other basic facilities,” she said.

Dr Noraishah Mydin says there is much work to be done as Malaysia is not so attuned to the needs of the disabled community. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Kamal Ariffin, November 13, 2022.

Noraishah has put forward five specific goals for the people of Putrajaya, which are to dignify civil servants, strengthen infrastructure, control the cost of living, build up the next generation, and ensure security.

“I also highlighted a lot of issues regarding the right to academic freedom and freedom of speech for students.

“My presence in the Dewan Rakyat will be very important to ensure that the voice of the disabled people who have always been marginalised will be heard and represented.

“My mission and vision is very clear, which is to improve the shortcomings in the Malaysian medical system, the rights of the disabled and the future of Putrajaya,” she said.

Noraishah said as a disabled person, she faced many difficulties in life, even as a lecturer in university.

She also claimed to have been denied research grants for the past nine years, especially by the Ministry of Higher Education.

“I did not take an easy path during my life and I worked hard to understand the problem of ‘spina bifida’ until I went abroad, working in world’s leading laboratories to learn about this disability.

“You couldn’t find a better group of researchers and I’m the only individual in the country who has a functioning laboratory on neural tube defect disorders.

“I have also published many studies on neurotic disorders,” she said.

Noraishah added that her physical impairment is not a hindrance to serving the people.

“I will not back down. I am here for all people, and for the disabled like me,” she said. – November 14, 2022.

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