Sunday, June 18, 2006

History: Malaysian Federation of the Deaf

"One Deaf One Community"

In 1964 a deaf man from Kuantan, Lam Beng Heng set up the pioneering Deaf Club in Petaling Jaya. With agroup of Deaf adults, they rented a premise on the upper levelof a coffeeshop to start a club.

During the day time, the adults have to work and earn some income as they shared their hard earned salary to pay the rent. Heng Beng who was educated from Singapore School of the Deaf played a vital role, he guided them in reading and writing to improve themselves and living skills.

Later Beng Heng went oversea with the aid of public fund to collect informations of Deaf movements there and to bring new ideas for Deaf Community at home.

Low Poh Wing a dynamic young man took over the leadership from Heng Beng in 1965 and he played very important role in expanding the deaf movement.

With the help of his uncle who was a MCA leader at that time, the club moved to MCA Office at Jalan Kelang Lama, Kuala Lumpur. The activities began to expand and the number of Deaf members from all races increased.

Later the club moved to a small premise in Yoke Nam Primary School in collaboration with a Deaf school run by Mr. Tan Yap, a first RID sign language interpreter in Malaysia. After that Yoke Nam Primary school and building surrounding was demolished and was turned to Mid Valley Shopping Complex.

Poh Wing later married Susan in 1970, a deaf woman who was graduated from Bible College, USA. Susan took the post as up English teacher at the private school for Deaf and she was the first Deaf teacher in the country.

The struggle of our Deaf Community caught the attention of Mr. Mikall Chong who was also one of the Board Member of YMCA KL. Mr. Mikall successfully convinced the Board to allow the Deaf Club to operate at KL YMCA permises in 1973.

In 1961, National Society for the Deaf was established and Tan Sri Khir Johari as first President. The first state level welfare organisation for the Deaf was registered in Terengganu in 1974 and followed by the establishment of a self help organisation for the deaf by the deaf in Johor in 1977.

In 1985, a group of Deaf youth from the Deaf Club KL took up the initiative to setup a self help organisation but failed. The group later aproached Mohamad Sazali Shaari who was the President of Deaf Club KL during that time and with his effort together with Chai Bui Lun, Simon and Betty Ting, Wong Loke Khai and Yeo Chiew Kean brought the formation of the Society of the Hearing Impaired (SHIMA) 1987. Mohamad Sazali was elected as the first President.

SHIMA became role model and inspirations of many deaf group from all over the country. SHIMA organised the first National Deaf Leader Meeting 1990 at the International Youth Centre Kuala Lumpur. The Deaf leaders then drew up a resolution to set up a national organisation and to provide equal opportunity for the Deaf in accessing and organising activities.

SHIMA was given the responsibilities to assist the state deaf community in setting up their own organisation. Mohamad Sazali travel around the country meeting deaf community and creating awareness to them.

In 1993, SHIMA was given mandate to represent Malaysia Deaf Community in affiliating with the World Federation of the Deaf and the Committee International Sports for the Deaf (CISS) because we do not have a national organisation at that time.

In 1994, SHIMA was changed to Kuala Lumpur Society of the Deaf or KLSD.

After 8 years with all the hard work, 7 state level organisations were successfully established and brought the formation of the Malaysian Federation of the Deaf and Malaysian Sports Federation of the Deaf in 1998.


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