My delegation thanks Ms Aguilar for her latest report. We have listened carefully to her presentation and have taken note of her recommendations.
In Singapore, we want to be build a fair and inclusive society; and one that does not ignore the needs of those who are born or afﬂicted with disabilities.
Article 12 of Singapore’s Constitution states that “all persons are equal before the law and entitled to equal protection of the law”.
This right applies to all persons, including persons with disabilities.
Under Singapore law, all individuals, including persons with disabilities, are presumed to have legal capacity, unless it is established they lack capacity.
Persons with disabilities therefore enjoy the same legal capacity as persons without disabilities, including equal rights to maintain their physical and mental integrity, participation as citizens, control over their financial affairs and property etc.
But we have laws like the Mental Capacity Act that provides the legal framework for empowering and protecting all citizens, including persons with disabilities, who lack mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.
The mental capacity of a person is not determined by whether or not he or she has a disability, but by whether he or she is unable to make decisions in relation to particular matters because of an impairment or a disturbance in the functioning of his or her mind.
Such persons are provided support to enable them to make as many decisions of their own as possible.
For example, the Court may appoint a proxy decision-maker to take decisions in the person’s best interests.
Parents of a child with intellectual disabilities are also enabled to apply to court to appoint a person to make decisions on the child’s welfare and financial matters.
There are also adequate safeguards under our laws to protect vulnerable members of our society by limiting the acts or decisions of a proxy decision-maker and providing powers to the Public Guardian to investigate complaints of abuse by proxy decision-makers. Protection is also provided by whistle-blowers who report abuse.
Singapore is committed to promoting and protecting the rights of all persons with disabilities.
At the national level, we have implemented a series of 5-year Enabling Masterplans since 2007 – we are now into our third Enabling Master plan.
In each Enabling Masterplan, we adopt a person-centric, “life-course” approach that provides persons with disabilities customised and targeted assistance, to enable them to live independent lives.
Thank you Mr President.
. . . . .