NEW MINISTER FOR WELFARE MINISTER OF MALAYSIA
Disabled Members Protest
ILTC Malaysia members staged a protest outside JPJ Wangsamaju KL.
Thursday, 11 February 2010
Good and bad
Thursday February 11, 2010
Good and bad
Klang has seen positive change over the years but the attitudes of its people still need adjustment.
MY job as city councillor and president of Petpositive – a society for the disabled and the elderly – took me to several destinations in the Klang Valley last week.
A couple of trips to the royal town of Klang where I was born, brought back memories of my growing-up days.
Those were difficult days for me. Although I was born with spina bifida, I was only unable to walk at the age of 10 after a botched surgery which put me in a wheelchair.
I was confined to my house due to the lack of disabled-friendly facilities in my hometown. I had to stop schooling and spent my teenage and adult life within the confines of my home.
I am happy to see how much Klang has changed over the years. I am delighted to see so many well-placed parking lots for disabled drivers. Such facilities will encourage more disabled and elderly persons to come out and mingle with the rest of society.
But alas! I saw some of the disabled parking lots being used by able-bodied drivers, depriving the handicapped of their rights.
I wonder what measures the Klang authorities (MPK) are taking to rectify the situation. Is the public relations department conducting awareness campaigns for all drivers in Klang? What about imposing stiff fines for drivers who abuse facilities for the disabled?
Things became more confusing when I visited the MPK headquarters. There were only two parking lots for the disabled, and these were occupied by a bus and a trooper belonging to the local government.
Such “leadership by example” is probably the reason why the rest of the Klang folk refuse to take the rights of disabled seriously.
I attended a meeting in Petaling Jaya last week in which the heads of the Engineering, Planning, Building and Landscape departments came together for the first time to coordinate efforts to make PJ more friendly to all persons.
The committee’s top priority is to ensure pavements in the city which can be used by everyone, including the disabled, the elderly, and mothers with prams.
All the department directors in the PJ City Council have pledged to give top priority to disabled-friendly facilities. This means that all pavements that are currently being upgraded in the city will include disabled-friendly designs.
Residents living in PJS 5 and PJS 6 would have noticed that the pavements outside their houses have been fitted with guiding blocks for the blind and kerb cuts and ramps for wheelchairs, prams and people with walking aids.
Lastly, more than a dozen persons who used wheelchairs and walking sticks turned up for a meeting at a well-known hotel last week.
They ended up having to control their bladders and bowels for more than three hours as the hotel was not wheelchair-friendly.
There was a step leading to the restroom. The doors were too heavy to be opened or closed by the disabled. The cubicle to the water closet was not roomy enough for a wheelchair.
Not being able to access the washrooms was torturous for the disabled as there was a free flow of beverages and snacks throughout the meeting.
A participant who was paralysed from the neck down developed a tummy upset which led to an unpleasant situation for him and his helper.
What was shocking was that the event was specially organised for the disabled, by the Government.
We were happy to receive an apology when we brought the matter to the attention of the authorities. But frankly, we are tired of repeating ourselves, especially on an issue that is so basic to all of us.