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Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Wheelchair-bound protest locked OKU toilet, rude gesture by KTM staff

Wheelchair-bound protest locked OKU toilet, rude gesture by KTM staff 

About 20 wheelchair-bound individuals staged a protest at the Rawang KTM station today, alleging mistreatment by station staff and that its toilet for the disabled (OKU) is always locked. 

Independent Living & Training Centre Malaysia (ILTC) president Francis Siva said several representatives from his organisation had visited the station yesterday afternoon after receiving complaints from a fellow wheelchair-bound individual. 

He claimed they had found the OKU toilet locked, and were on the receiving end from a station toilet staff when they requested that the toilet be unlocked. 

ILTC secretary Gurdip Kaur also produced a photo of the toilet staff, which shows her making a rude gesture by turning around, bending over and thrusting her rear at the camera. 

The wheelchair-bound individual who made the complaint, M Murugan, has been selling handicraft and stationery around the Rawang KTM station vicinity for the past two years. 

“Since February, the toilet for the handicapped has always been locked. When I asked the cleaners, they would say ‘no water’, ‘‘no electricity’. […] They would scold me.

“When the cleaners opened the toilet door, I saw that it was filled with the cleaners' personal belongings.

"When I asked, the cleaner said the officer had given her permission to store her things,” he said. 

Murugan also claimed he had no choice but to defecate in his pants several times because of the lack of access to the handicapped toilet.

Initially denied access 

Drama ensued when the protesters were initially denied access by a station official when they attempted to stage the event at the train platform. 

After some heated exchange between Gurdip and the particular official, the protesters and the press were allowed to enter the train platform area.

“Come in! Come in!” Gurdip called out to her fellow handicapped comrade-in-arms and reporters.

ILTC central committee member S Jeyaraj had then tried to open the OKU toilet door, only to find it locked. 

Francis, who is on a wheelchair himself, said: “The disabled toilets are intended to improve the disabled quality of life. Unfortunately, we have gotten a lot of complaints about the disabled toilets. They are using them as a store room, keeping mops and other things. 

“Most of the disabled are suffering, for we have been denied the basic fundamentals of life. So, that’s why we are here to express our strong disappointment towards the Transport Ministry and KTM." 

Also present was MIC Selayang division chief MB Raja, who urged the ministry to act immediately on this issue.

“I want the ministry to take serious action on this, because if we leave this alone, another station will do that and another station will do that […] I’ll write to the Transport Ministry too, because this should not have happened,” he said. 

Nor Azni Ibrahim, a representative from the KTM Khairat Kematian Charitable Association, the organisation which he claimed has been entrusted by KTM management to handle various matters, including the tendering for toilet operations at the Rawang and Kuang stations, had issued a response. 

“As a representative (from the association) I apologise for the toilet staff’s behaviour […] I’ll make sure this thing will never happen again,” the KTM employee told ILTC members.

 When Malaysiakini enquired if a meeting could be arranged with the KTM management, Azni had asked reporters to contact him the next day.- Mkini

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