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First in ASEAN: Malaysia's opportunities portal for persons with disabilities

AvantiKumar | April 21, 2017
M-Powered aims to drive employment and entrepreneurship among persons with disabilities.

M-Powered launch

Photo- (From left) Senator Bathmavathi Krishnan of Dewan Negara with YB Dato' Seri Ong Ka Chuan, Minister of International Trade and Industry II, Stevens Chan, CEO and Founder, Dialogue in the Dark Malaysia and Dr Astrid Tuminez, Senior Regional Director, Corporate, External and Legal Affairs, South East Asia, Microsoft Corporation (standing).


  A group of partners recently launched a new portal in Malaysia to provide employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for persons with disabilities.

Called M-Powered, the portal brings together key players in the ecosystem to also provide technical and soft skills learning opportunities and access to job listings to mainstream the disabled community in the economy.

The portal was launched by YB Dato' Seri Ong Ka Chuan, minister of International Trade and Industry II. Also present at the launch were Senator Bathmavathi Krishnan of Dewan Negara and Dr Astrid Tuminez, senior regional director, Corporate, External and Legal Affairs, South East Asia, Microsoft Corporation.

In his speech, minister Ong said: "The government has identified inclusiveness and wellbeing as thrusts for community development in the 11th Malaysia Plan."

"Private public sector collaborations are an important part of realising this vision and programmes like M-Powered are the perfect role models," he said. "I congratulate Microsoft and all the partners for creating such a unique portal that encourages capacity building, employability as well as entrepreneurship and inclusiveness."

First in ASEAN

M-Powered is the first of its kind portal in ASEAN that provides such  opportunities as well as learning resources via partnerships with government, corporations, academia, multilateral agencies and non-profits, said representatives from Microsoft and Dialogue in the Dark.

 Other partners include Thriving Talents, Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC), Girls in Tech Malaysia, and Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation, Sunway, APU, UNITAR and MYMobile University with additional support from Ministry of Human Resources, SME Corp and SME Bank.

Speaking of Microsoft's commitment to Malaysia's digital transformation journey, Dr Astrid Tuminez said: "M-Powered is in line with our efforts to build a more inclusive world and to ensure benefits of the digital economy are equitably shared across everyone. We recognise the exemplary efforts of all the partners in making M-Powered a success and applaud the government's support in leveraging technology to improve the lives of citizens."

"We commend the government's policy to drive 1 percent of the Civil Service comprising of people with disabilities and this truly demonstrates leadership of the Government of Malaysia," she added.

M-Powered will provide online training, supplemented with mentoring and boot camps. This end to end accessible portal includes eight pillars - employers, employees, development of inclusive technology and applications, online marketplace to market products created by persons with disabilities, academia, volunteering, civil society & NGOs, and mentoring.

Commenting on the  launch, Stevens Chan, chief executive officer and founder, Dialogue in the Dark Malaysia, said, "M-Powered is a key milestone for the community of disabled people and will work to give them meaningful employment and acceptance across the world."
 Ashran Dato' Ghazi, who is MaGIC's chief executive officer, said, "This unique initiative combines technology with local partnerships to address local and societal issues. It is a manifestation of our vision to create programmes that are scalable, sustainable and community-centric."

The latest edition of this article is at Computerworld Malaysia.


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