Tuesday, August 29, 2006

'Stop neglecting us in public transport plans, please'

Kimberley Lau
KUALA LUMPUR: Eight organisations representing the disabled want their needs to be prioritised when the government builds new monorail systems in Penang, Johor and Putrajaya.
Reiterating their earlier disappointment over the disabled-unfriendly KL Monorail, Anthony Thanasayan of Access and Inclusion for the Disabled said they wanted the disabled to be included in committees that are responsible for the development of the new monorail or light rail transit projects.
He said such a move will benefit some 170,000 registered disabled persons in Malaysia.
"We want the government to give disabled persons access to the country through means of public transport and buildings. Without this, getting a job or going to school is out of the question," he said.
He was speaking in a press conference today (Aug 29, 2006) to highlight the fact that the disabled, until today, still lag far behind non-disabled persons, even though the country is celebrating 49 years of independence.
Representatives from seven other organisations were also present. They related personal accounts of how unfriendly public places are to them.
Thanasayan said the lack of suitable public transportation for disabled citizens remains one of the most neglected issues.
He insisted the disabled be considered in the upcoming budget.
"Last year's budget included as many as 200 new buses for the general public. As equal citizens of the country, we ask that the government ensure that the new buses are wheelchair accessible.
"These are normal buses that are used by able-bodied persons. All we ask is that two seats are secured for the disabled and that some include lifts for those on wheelchairs," he said, adding that such disabled-friendly buses have been in use in Vietnam, Thailand, China and India for many decades.
"It is a crying shame that after half a century of independence, Malaysians with disabilities still don't have the freedom to travel around independently and have to remain stuck at home, forced to be a burden to society."
Some disabled needs:
> Traffic lights with bleepers on all roads;
> Even pavements without obstructions (e.g. trees, uncovered manholes, stalls);
> Consistent ramps and rails in buildings;
> Voice announcements and braille buttons and tickets in lifts and ticketing machines
> Monthly allowance to help meet basic living expenses;
> Car park lots located near to entrances of shops, malls and other places that are properly covered; and
> Trained personnel who know how to assist a disabled person.

Link to original Source

No comments: