KUALA LUMPUR, April 23:Private companies should come forward to hire people with disabilities (handicapped) to create a truly inclusive society, thus providing them opportunities to be part of the national’s economic cycle. Secretary-General of Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), Datuk Dr Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria, said the companies should undertake this effort as their core business, rather than just as a corporate social responsibility. “They must go beyond that and not just having the handicapped in the call centre industry as some of them that graduated from the Malaysian Association for the Blind (MAB) are capable of handling more than just the telephone,” she said. She said this at a media briefing after presenting certificates to 31 trainees that graduated under the MAB’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (Apec) Digital Opportunity Centre (ADOC) Project here today. Sta Maria urged companies to not only hire the handicapped but also team up with MAB to provide training as well as facilities. She said the efforts were also in line with the government’s circular of Pekeliling Perkhidmatan Bilangan 16 Tahun 2010, which made the policy statement that the handicapped must make up at least one per cent of total employment in the public service. Sta Maria said the ADOC project would help the government achieve the target, along with the collaboration of MAB, Public Service Commission, Public Service Department, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and Social Welfare Department. The ADOC Project, initiated by the Chinese Taipei in 2003, is an Economic and Technical Cooperation initiatives to narrow the digital divide among the Apec member economies, which aimed to help disadvantaged groups. Malaysia joined the programme in 2010 and since then, seven ADOC centres have been set up in the country with one of them focussing on visually impaired people being recognised by the Chinese Taipei government. The centre was the most outstanding centre last year and Apec Summit. “This is something that we need to highlight because it got recognition as well as it’s in Malaysia; and the fact that this project is being used as a model, says a lot,” she said.