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.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Harrowing experience

Thursday September 8, 2011

Harrowing experience

IT is most encouraging to see more disabled-friendly features popping up in buildings everywhere. Parking lots for the disabled, complete with ramps leading into the building, and disabled-friendly restrooms are a welcome sight for anyone with a disability.

However, a recent episode taught me a sober lesson about handicapped-friendly buildings: disabled-friendly designs are only good if the service providers are prepared to take the extra step to reach out to those with special needs. There is no point in having handicapped-friendly facilities and simply expecting things to naturally fall into place.

At the start of the Raya-Merdeka holidays, I drove over to a hypermarket in Shah Alam to do some last-minute shopping and take advantage of the sale.

I was disappointed to see that parking lots for the handicapped were occupied by non-disabled drivers. There were no security guards to stop able-bodied drivers from occupying the said lots.

And that’s not all. I had to wait for about 15 minutes for the occupant of the handicapped-friendly toilet to finish doing the needful. And when he was done, out came a young man of about 30 who did not look disabled, unless he had a learning disorder or mental disability that was not visible.

However, I will not insult my intellectually-challenged brothers and sisters for I know them well. They have no need to use a loo meant for the physically disabled.

When I went into the toilet, it was filled with cigarette smoke which made me choke and cough.

The big disabled logo on the door belied the actual situation of the restroom. The fittings were not properly maintained. The pipes were not working properly, the toilet seat was filthy, and the grab bars were shaky, making it dangerous for users.

Just when I thought I had seen everything, the door burst open (indicating the lock was not working) and a man with a bewildered look stood in front of me with his fly half open.

He was clearly shocked to see me, and I was startled, too. I realised later that he was an employee of the hypermarket.

When I insisted on making a complaint, I was asked to wheel myself for about a hundred metres to meet the supervisor at the counter. Of course, the most sensible thing was to ask her to meet me where I was.

No one called me to apologise for the goof-ups the next day.

But my story does not end here. Within 24 hours, I was back at the hypermart to collect something I had forgotten the previous day.

This time, I took along a friend. I waited in my car as he dashed into the hypermarket to get the item, but disaster struck again. My car battery died, and I had to wait for more than an hour for help to arrive.

In the 30-odd minutes that my friend took before he returned, I felt vulnerable. I felt trapped in my car, invisible and all alone in an awkward spot.

When my friend returned, he managed to get some staff members to push my car to a safer spot. Even then, the staff were obviously not trained to respond to an SOS situation involving a disabled person.

It would have been helpful if they had asked: “Are you all right, sir?” or “Do you need assistance to go to the restroom?”

Heck, even a cuppa would have gone a long way to calm my frazzled nerves.

No comments: