The National Autism Society of Malaysia (NASOM) hopes the government can allocate RM4 million to the society via Budget 2018 to be tabled on Friday, October 27.
Its President, Dato’ Megat Ahmad Shahrani Megat Shahruddin said the money was to cater for the high cost of education and other needs of autistic children.
“We spent about RM7 million a year, especially for the development of the children. However, we only managed to get RM3 million, which we received from public contributions and donations. Thus, we hope the government would give us the additional RM4 million to make up the shortfall.
“We received much assistance from various parties, but it’s still insufficient, as our expenses involved the children’s therapy which is very expensive,” he told reporters during a Corporate Social Responsibility programme, “Graffiti Negaraku with Media Practitioners” at NASOM Ipoh on Monday, October 23.
He said to date, there are 23 NASOM centres, with over 600 autistic children, operating nationwide, except in Sabah.
“We’re planning to open more centres, but we’ve insufficient funds. More money is needed to operate the centres, especially to pay the teaching staff and equipment for teaching.
“It’s unlike a normal classroom. In our centre, one teacher can only teach two to three autistic children, as attention is a prerequisite,” said Megat Ahmad Shahrani.
The event, organised by Malaysia Information Department, had an audience of over 100 people consisting of autistic children, media practitioners and the staff from the department.
During the event, the participants honed their patriotic spirit by drawing a graffiti on the wall of NASOM Ipoh branch with a 1Malaysia patriotic theme.
All the autistic children from the house tried their hands at completing the artwork and had fun painting on the wall which measured 7.47m wide and 15m high.
Malaysia Information Department Director, Dato’ Ibrahim Abdul Rahman, who was present during the event, said that this was one of the ways to work closely with the community.