Dr Ismail charts history as Malaysia's first blind senator

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  • Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2007 23:36:31 -0500

New Straits Times, Malaysia
Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Dr Ismail charts history as Malaysia's first blind senator

KUALA LUMPUR, TUES: The Malaysian Association for the Blind president Prof 
Datuk Dr Ismail Md Salleh today charted history when he became the first blind 
Malaysian appointed as a member of the Dewan Negara. 

He was sworn in before Dewan Negara President Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Pawanteh at 
the Parliament House.

Klebeng state constituency coordinating vice chairman Shamsudin Mehat and 
former Pending state assemblyman Datuk Sim Kheng Hui were also sworn in as 

Ismail, 60, who used braille during the ceremony, told reporters later that his 
appointment clearly showed the government's commitment towards the disabled.

"I thank Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for the appointment 
and Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul 
Jalil who nominated me," he said.

Dr Ismail was born on Sept 2, 1947 in Pasir Mas, Kelantan. He obtained a 
bachelor's degree in economics and political science from the New York 
University in 1973 and a masters' in economics from the Illinois University a 
year later. He was conferred a doctorate by the same university in 1977.

Dr Ismail said he received the appointment letter on Friday and found it 
difficult to express what he felt at the time.

He said his appointment, as a senator was more of representing the disabled and 
would bring up their issues especially matters involving disabled women and 
those mentally challenged.

These groups required a lot of support and assistance, he said.

He said he wanted to hold a congress for all disabled in the near term to 
identity major issues affecting them and find ways to overcome them.

His contributions to other fields like economics would also not stop here, he 

Dr Ismail is Twintech Holdings chief executive officer and Twintech 
International University College of Technology vice-chancellor. He is also a 
father of six.

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