Chairman, BERNAMA & Recipient of 2023 International Women of Courage Award from the First Lady of the US, Dr. Jill Biden
The Hon. Senator Datuk (Dr.) Ras Adiba Radzi (born 27th July 1968) is a politician, community activist, a para-air rifle shooter, poet and a Malaysian news anchor. She was appointed as a Senator on 20th May 2020 to represent Persons with disabilities (PWD). During Senator Ras Adiba’s two years of service, she has made the most significant contribution to the disabled, the elderly and the needy in the areas of education, facilities & infrastructure, well-being & welfare as well as socio-economy & employment. In the field of education for the disabled, Senator Ras Adiba has worked with MOSTI to increase the number of disabled students in TVET and STEM-based education. She has also advocated for an increase in the number of teachers for the disabled, reducing drop-out rates and ensuring equal opportunity at public universities.
One of the biggest challenges as a disabled would be how unfriendly public facilities & Infrastructure can be. Hence with her Task force team, together they sat down with the relevant Ministries to give attention on improving public transportation, and public accessibility including at religious places of worship, recreational areas and affordable housing.
As with any segment of the community, Senator Ras is very concerned on ensuring that their well-being & welfare are being looked into. This is sadly so where some of the disabled B40 community, had lost their parents or carers during the pandemic. They face even more difficulty in trying to make ends meet today.
In hand with the Akta 2008, Senator Ras Adiba has been pushing for the 1% employment opportunity for the disabled in Government agencies. She lobbies and work hand in hand with all sectors to make sure that the percentage is met so as PWD’s are not discriminated against and given the opportunity just as an able bodied. She has also advocated for entrepreneurs within the disabled community be supported under the Malaysian Innovation Foundation programs and MyStep.
During the pandemic, there was a scramble and a high fear of getting vaccinated, especially amongst the PWDs. Seeing that, Senator Ras Adiba came up with an idea. Together with her OKU Sentral team, she worked with the Ministry of Health to organise a different way of vaccinating the community, which is a drive through. It opened in Ara Damansara (Selangor) and Arena Larkin (Johor Bahru). Both these centres supported the seven different categories of the disabled and elderlies and helped thousands in the two states.
On the 23rd of November 2020, Senator Ras Adiba was appointed as Chairman of the National News Agency of Malaysia (BERNAMA). This appointment makes her the first woman to be appointed as the chairman of BERNAMA in its 53-year history. She has 36 years experience in broadcasting having attached at TV3 and NTV7, where she had served in various roles as a broadcast journalist, news anchor, television presenter and sports commentator, director and producer.
In 2002 Senator Ras Adiba was in a motor vehicle accident which resulted her being a paraplegic. Her injury severed her Thoracic 10 or T10 level of her spinal cord. Since then, the Senator has undergone several surgeries and continuous physiotherapy. Her condition though did not deter her from participating in several Paralympic sporting events such as long-distance marathon, swimming, badminton and shooting. Senator Ras Adiba also represented Malaysia at several international competitions in para-shooting including, the 2015 ASEAN Para Games in Singapore, Indonesia and several World cups in Europe. She also recorded a feat in the Malaysia Book of Records, when she successfully pushed her wheelchair from Johor Bahru to Putrajaya in 10 days spanning a distance of 490km.
In 2017, Senator Ras Adiba co-founded OKU Sentral, where she began her advocacy, educating and provisioning of aid for the disabled community. She felt that with the right voice and assistance from the government, corporate and private sectors, the disabled community can live a better life, gain more independence and achieve greater success.
A firm believer in personal growth and up-skilling, Senator Ras Adiba involves herself in both the pursuit of education and knowledge as well as shares her wealth of wisdom. In 2019, she obtained her Master of Business Administration from the International Business School Of Scandinavia and in 2022 she earned the Honorary Doctorate of Social Sciences And Humanities from the Open University of Malaysia. She is also an Honorary Fellow at the International Islamic University and an Adjunct Professor at the National University of Malaysia (Psychological research centre & human wellbeing department).
Senator Ras Adiba has had a turbulent life, from a glamorous life as a news anchor to the depths of despair upon becoming disabled, to overcoming the insurmountable odds of becoming a Paralympic sportswoman, a force as an advocate and community activist, and finally continuing her fight for the disabled community as a Senator in the Upper House of the parliament of Malaysia.
For all her years of contribution to the disabled and less fortunate, Senator Ras Adiba was conferred the Knight Commander of the Order of the Territorial Crown (PMW) by His Majesty the King, Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin AlMustafa Billah Shah Ibni Al Marhum Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah, which carries the title Datuk in 2021