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, 27 October 2011

How disabled-friendly is Malacca city?

Thursday October 27, 2011

How disabled-friendly is Malacca city?

I HAD a terrific time earlier this month when I visited the beautiful and historic city of Malacca. As chairman of MBPJ’s technical committee on disabilities, I was eager to find out what the council had done – and is currently doing – to make their much-talked about national heritage city friendly to residents with disabilities as well as disabled visitors.

I couldn’t think of a more effective way to carry out my task than to make a spontaneous visit to the city. But not without taking an able-bodied assistant with me, just in case.

Our first stop was Christ Church in Malacca town which was built by the Dutch in the 18th century. I was disappointed to discover that the oldest functioning Protestant church to the country had no ramp for wheelchair access.

Thus I was forced to stay outside the church whilst scores of visitors walked in and out of the age-old building to appreciate its beauty from the inside.

The writer and his assistant, Jason Jegathiswaran, taking in the sights and sounds of historic Malacca.

When I asked one of the church officials why a ramp was not built for disabled tourists, I was shocked by his reply that “a ramp would spoil the beauty of this ancient building.”

When I pointed out that there were more than enough entrances to build just one ramp to allow tourists in wheelchairs and those with walking difficulties to access the building, he said that he would bring the matter up with the building committee.

I couldn’t help thinking how short-sighted he was to make such a statement about the usefulness of ramps.

Don’t these people realise that perceptions are changing as society ages and more people are strugging with disabilities brought on by old age, accidents and illnesses?

I have been to countries where wheelchair ramps are always provided as an alternative access for the disabled.

In heritage buildings, the engineers have cleverly constructed ramps in an ancient style to blend in with their natural surroundings. Excuses were never given to avoid providing access for the disabled.

Back to Malacca city, there were no disabled-friendly toilets within a decent distance from where I was. I did see a public toilet for the handicapped when I was travelling in my vehicle. However, that was too far away for my convenience.

The only parking lot for the handicapped that I saw was near the church. However, it was not as long and wide as a proper disabled parking lot should be.

The wheelchair logo on the ground was fading. One had to take a good look to notice it. Needless to say, this wouldn’t go well with drivers with poor eyesight.

Most of the pavements were inaccessible to wheelchairs. Frankly, they were also not good for walking. Luckily my assistant was with me to help me get around.

Because of the lack of wheelchair-friendly pavements, I was forced to use the road where my safety was compromised. At one point, I had to literally get off the road to allow a huge tourist bus to get past me.

In the 10 hours that I spent in the city, I did not come across a single person in a wheelchair. This is a clear sign of how hostile the city is to disabled and elderly denizens when it comes to access to the outdoors.

I must add that there appeared to be some attempts to make pavements wheelchair-friendly but these were scarce and not properly done. There were no guiding blocks for the blind, too.

Despite all these, I managed to take in unforgettable sights like the river boat rides and the colourful rickshaws, and sampled the mouth-watering fare that is unique to the city.

Disabled people, too, want to enjoy the marvellous sights, sounds and smells of Malacca.

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