Badan Latihan dan Hidup Berdikari Malaysia (ILTC) pada 23hb Mac 2016 menyerahkan memorandum kepada ahli-ahli parlimen mendesak supaya golongan orang kurang upaya (OKU) dikecualikan daripada cukai barangan dan perkhidmatan (GST).

Disabled Members Protest

Disabled Members Protest
Disabled Members Protest at JPJ Wangsa Maju

ILTC Malaysia members staged a protest outside JPJ Wangsamaju KL.

ILTC Malaysia members staged a protest outside JPJ Wangsamaju KL.
Disabled group’s protest disabled drivers required to produce doc's medical report.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Needs of the elderly

Thursday May 13, 2010

Needs of the elderly

Get ready to embrace an ageing population.

I WILL only be 50 years old this November, but I can’t help thinking about what life would be like in our society when we grow older.

I raised this up at three important meetings in three different places. The first was on my home ground at the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) where I serve as councillor.

I brought up the issue of elderly persons’ needs at the monthly full board meeting which is attended by the mayor, all the councillors and heads of departments.

I raised this question: “Twenty-five years from now, will we as decision-makers, planners and engineers of our beloved city, be able to smile proudly when we look back at PJ, and say that we had done the needful during our tenure of service to make our environment liveable in order to accommodate us in our old age?

“Do we live and conduct ourselves with the full realisation that we are growing older each day and may one day require special people-friendly facilities? These include covered car parks to protect us from the elements, and toilets wide enough for our children or caregivers to provide some assistance for us.

“What about public parks? Will they continue to be designed only for the fit and young? Or will the outside environment include facilities which enable the elderly to go out and enjoy some fresh air, sunshine and green therapy?”

I was referring to a recent United Nations report that our country is likely to reach an ageing nation status by 2035 with the number of people above the age of 60 reaching 15% of the population.

Welfare Department deputy director-general (Operations) Halijah Yahaya confirmed that the UN statistics was proof that the percentage of ageing people in Malaysia was on the increase.

Incidentally, the United Nations categorises any country with 10% of its population above the age of 60 as an ageing nation.

Speaking at a seminar on caring society in Kuantan, Halijah concluded: “The Government should view seriously the ageing rate among the population because old people have their own requirements.”

I was delighted that no one in MBPJ tried to pretend that enough was being done at the policy level at the moment to include the needs of elderly persons.

Instead, everyone at the full board meeting gave their thumping support to the motion to start planning now so that the city will be ready to embrace more elderly people and their needs in the future.

A similar reaction was received from KTM Berhad in Rawang, Selangor, and the Ministry of Transport (MOT) in Putrajaya.

A group of us in wheelchairs were invited to the local train station to give our input on the present wheelchair-facilities. We found a number of areas where improvements could be made, for example, the toilet doors, uneven pavements and other areas that could pose a hazard to elderly passengers.

KTM Berhad took our suggestions positively and promised to make the necessary changes.

We also had a discussion with the train’s audit access team, and took the opportunity to stress to them the urgency of making the changes now.

At the MOT, we were delighted when Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat also gave the thumbs up to our suggestions. He told us that he himself knew exactly how we felt when he had to use a wheelchair temporarily.

During his meeting with many top guns from the airlines industry, he stressed that disabled and elderly persons should always receive top priority in their services.

The minister said that wheelchairs should be available free-of-charge at airports. He also urged airports to provide special transport vehicles such as ambulifts to carry disabled passengers into the aircraft where aerobridges were not available.

Airports should also consider Deaf passengers during emergencies, he said. Flashing light alarms should be provided at the airport – and even in the restrooms – to warn hearing-impaired passengers if there is a fire as they are unable to hear alarm sirens.

The minister also stressed the need for customer service staff in all airline companies to be trained in assisting disabled passengers.

“They must have some basic understanding of disabilities (and old age problems) and know exactly what to do to make such passengers’ travel comfortable,” added Ong.

One other issue that was raised at the MOT meeting last week was for airports to provide parking lots for the disabled at the entrance, instead of reserving these lots for VIPs.