While MPs were engrossed with their tasks in the Dewan Rakyat last week, several people in red uniform were toiling to clean the floors and toilets to make the environment as neat and pleasant as possible for all.
One of them, Muhammad Md Noor, 29, may at first glance seem to be no different than other individuals.
But the Kelantan man, who can be seen tirelessly labouring with a mop and pail from Monday to Saturday, is actually hearing-impaired and speech-impaired.
He and eight other disabled people are among 20 contract cleaners responsible for keeping the Parliament complex dirt-free and spruced up at all times.
His supervisor Muhammad Shazuli Zaini, 28, says it is easier to work with disabled people like Muhammad Md Noor as they are hardworking and reliable.
“They are certainly better workers than able-bodied people.
“It may seem difficult to communicate with them although it is not as complicated as we might expect,” he told FMT.
Shazuli learned sign-language to help him communicate with the workers.
“I had to pick it up to make me more effective,” he said, adding that for every 10 disabled workers one of them would be appointed as a head to receive instructions on their behalf.
“The disabled workers are diligent. Even if they stop work for any reason, they would come back to apply again for the job,” he said.
In fact, the management of the Parliament complex had requested the company to maintain the existing workers there as they were impressed with their work.
“They were brought in earlier by the previous contractor. When my company got the new tender to keep Parliament clean the management asked that the staff be retained under us,” Shazuli said.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said, who is in charge of parliamentary affairs, said the management appreciated people like Muhammad.
“We like anyone who can work like this in Parliament,” she told FMT.
Muhammad begins his duties at 7.30am and finishes at 4.30pm, receiving a monthly pay of RM1,300 without overtime.
Asked how he felt about working in Parliament, Muhammad, who was hired five months ago, had only one sign to show – a thumbs-up signal that he put up with a smile.
Shazuli said the cleaning company also assigns disabled workers to work at Menara TM in Jalan Pantai Baru and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
He added that the company also employs senior citizens.
“We also take in youths although most of them would work for short periods. Some of them even come for two or three days and then never show up at all,” Shazuli said.