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, 1 December 2011

Needless woes for the wheelchair-bound

Thursday November 24, 2011

Needless woes for the wheelchair-bound

WHO says life in a wheelchair is all doom and gloom? After sitting in one for more than 40 years, I’ve come to accept the fact that getting around in a wheelchair is – contrary to what many may think – just as fun as walking. Except for those dreaded moments when physical challenges that are absolutely unnecessary are put before a wheelchair user.

Take last week’s event, for instance. I was in the company of some top notch men and women at the main campus of the National Institute of Public Administration (Intan) in Jalan Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur. We were attending a training programme conducted by a former mayor from England.

As councillor for Petaling Jaya, the topic was right up my alley. However, no sooner had I arrived at the venue when I suspected that this was going to be a bad day for wheelchairs. I barely managed to get into the building. They were some dangerous gradients and drain covers for my wheelchair to negotiate.

Once inside, I discovered that the men’s washroom was one floor above me. The only way to get to it was to climb a flight of stairs as there were no lifts.

The training session was scheduled for the whole day. Even single steps in the building did not come with a simple ramp. I had to ask for assistance each time I went in and out of the roundtable discussion room.

Then the most unthinkable thing happened: I was expected to use the women’s toilet. Suddenly, I was no longer feeling “distinguished” among my fellow participants. I felt embarrassed, humiliated and even outraged by the entire experience.

Despite the total lack of facilities for people with my needs, I was shocked when the organisers insisted that I pay the registration fee, which included refreshments and lunch.

I refused. I pointed out that it was morally not right for them to charge me, considering that they had not ensured my right to basic facilities at the event.

I was also disappointed with some of the excuses the organisers gave in response to my complaints:

> We didn’t know that you would be coming in a wheelchair:

Is this a relevant excuse nowadays when more and more buildings are becoming disabled-friendly in view of the increasing number of elderly and disabled citizens? If they had known, are they suggesting that they would have renovated a ramp or toilet in time for the event? Shouldn’t they have done this already? Do people in wheelchairs have to shout out their disability status each time they participate in society? Isn’t this a form of discrimination?

> It is our policy to charge all participants.

Even after you realise that you have been most unfair to a participant by denying him his basic needs? Fortunately, the organisers came to their senses and refunded my money in full.

I hope the experience proved to be a learning point for them as it was for me.

Intan Bukit Kiara was opened in the early 1980s. Why has it taken so long for the institute to include basic facilities for the handicapped? Did they not know that Malaysians with disabilities exist?

I had no choice but to quit the session halfway through its run.

The biggest question now remains: Is Intan going to do anything about making its facilities accessible to Malaysians with disabilities after today? Let’s certainly hope so!

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