Dentist Romi Syofpa Ismael, left, meeting with her legal counsel, Wenda Rona Putra, in Padang, West Sumatra, on Tuesday. (Antara Photo/Muhammad Arif Pribadi)

Disabled Dentist Disqualified Despite Perfect Score in Civil Service Exam

BY : BERITASATU TEAM & NUR YASMIN

JULY 26, 2019

Jakarta. South Solok district in West Sumatra has come under fire for disqualifying a dentist based on her disability, despite being in good health and having passed the civil service exam with the highest score.

Romi Syofpa Ismail said South Solok district head Muzni Zakaria issued a letter on March 18 informing her that she had failed to meet the basic requirements of the 2018 civil service exam.

"The first reason given was that I was physically unfit. But I checked my heart, lungs, eyes, teeth, blood and internal organs; there were no problems," she said on Thursday.

Romi has been using a wheelchair since 2016, when she lost the use of her legs after giving birth to her second child.

"I became paraplegic after giving birth. At the time, I was a registered temp at the health ministry," she said, adding that she had been working on a contract basis in South Solok's public health unit since 2015.

When her contract ended, she was encouraged to stay on because South Solok needed a dentist.

"It was suggested that I stay on and work in a wheelchair," Romi said.

She reported her case to the Legal Aid Institute (LBH) in Padang, West Sumatra, and decided to sue the district government. She also received support from the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI), which considers her disqualification as discriminatory.

"We support doctor Romi Syofpa in her fight against this alleged act of discrimination," Imelda Berwanty Purba, PSI spokeswoman for women's empowerment, said on Thursday.

The PSI suggested that Romi be appointed based on her test result. Imelda said the 2016 Law on Persons With Disabilities strictly forbids discrimination based on disability in employee selection.  

The women's wing of the Golkar Party meanwhile also expressed support for Romi.

"We have been following the case and found evidence of discrimination against doctor Romi... We want to help her obtain justice," said Hetifah Sjaifudian, chairwoman of the Golkar Party Women's Corps (KPPG).

Admi Zulkhairi, the head of personnel planning and development at South Solok's human resource agency, said the district government simply followed existing regulations. He said Romi was a general applicant and as such, was required to be physically and mentally fit.

"We knew Romi had a disability and were forced to disqualify her because she does not meet the requirements," Admi told Kompas on Tuesday. 

The district government later said it was willing to accommodate Romi's demands.

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