MALAYSIAKINI REPORT by Vasughi Supramanian
17 March 2010
Finally at least one local administration in the country has woken up to the fact that the disabled need special attention so they can move around urban centres without any hassle and not just on paper. Petaling Jaya City Council has decided to make the necessary changes in the city to create a disabled-friendly environment.
"Nothing will change if the local council members don't go down to the field," said Petaling Jaya councillor Anthony Thanasayan from his wheelchair. He urged the Selangor state government to look into disabled issues seriously as more join the disabled ranks, either through disease or accidents. "The simple reason why nothing is being done to increase the facilities available for the disabled is simply because they are not the ones on a wheelchair," he added.
To that end, the city council has formed a special committee for the planning and execution of a disabled-friendly city.
Thanasayan who is also the committee president said: "We will adopt four main strategies which are to upgrade staff expertise on disabled-friendly facilities, implementation of barrier-free city projects in selected locations, renovation programmes for the existing buildings and the monitoring of the social development programs." PJ City Council planning and development unit director Sharipah Marhaini Syed Ali on her part said that presently PJS5, PJS6 and Section 52 are being developed as disabled-friendly areas.
"We would also make Section 13, which is under development, a convenient place for the disabled. Apart from that, all the existing and future developments in Petaling Jaya would strictly go through the Uniform Buildings by-law," she added.
Speaking to about 15 media representatives after the special meeting with 50 local council members yesterday, Sharipah said the council has come up with a specially-designed pamphlet for the convenience of the disabled.
500 printed pamphlets will be distributed to the disabled through the welfare department and the city council.
She added that the pamphlet contains information on barrier-free places in Petaling Jaya such as pedestrian walkaways in section 52, The Curve, Ikea, Ikano Power Centre, and SS2.