See this Sign?

The sign outside one of the toilets in Suria KLCC.

There is a reason why toilets for the disabled are locked nowadays. I know for certain those in Berjaya Times Square and Suria KLCC are. Those are among some of the cleaner toilets I have used. Many who are not entitled to use such amenities continue to insist on misusing them in the name of convenience. Oftentimes the toilets that were not locked were dirty and vandalised. This deprives those whom the toilets were intended for from using it. I applaud the complex managers in putting a stop to such brazen misuse. At the same time, it is disappointing to be note that such measures have to be implemented. This proves that civic consciousness is still sorely lacking in our society.

Related entry:
Blatant Abuse of Disabled Toilets

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. End-stage renal disease since 2017. Principal Facilitator at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. Former columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

14 thoughts on “See this Sign?”

  1. Many Malaysians lack quality upbringing and exposure.
    They have the tak apa lah attitude.

    my rating on civic consciousness in Malaysia is 6/10

    Hmmm… instead of showing small examples of Malaysians’ negativity, why don’t we focus on the big picture?

    like what cause Malaysians to have negative attitude in general and how to improve the mentality of Malaysians.

    a blog reader
    -Life Feel

  2. Dear Peter,

    I apologise for being one of the culprits who misused the disabled toilets before for three times I think .

    It never occurs to me that such abuse could cause such inconveniences to the disabled.
    I assure you it won’t happen again.

    Take care and God bless you.


  3. some malls have a table set up outside the toilets to collect entrance money. it would be a good idea for the money collector to hold the key so that the disabled person would be able to access the toilet easily.

    the collector has to see that the person requesting use of disabled toilet is really disabled before releasing the key.

  4. Hi Peter,
    I am glad to know that there are places in Malaysia where you can be assured of clean and available disabled toilets.

    Please let me know what you think of the following situation. I often take my kids to MacDonalds here in Australia. It is not uncommon to find only 2 toilets in the Female toilets, one normal toilet and one disabled toilet, side by side.

    If there were to be a queue waiting for the one normal toilet, but the disabled toilet is available, should these women continue to queue and not use the disabled toilet?

  5. Someone once pointed out that Malaysia is a developing country with a third world mentality. That set me thinking…… I’m still thinking. Interesting point, hey?

  6. If I may add, in the UK, they have to lock up toilets for disabled people as well, especially in high human traffic volume area, like railway stations and shopping complexes. So, they have to find the janitor and get the keys off them.

    We need to remind ourselves that the facilities for disabled people are not luxuries, but basic needs. Be it lifts, accessible ramps, refuge areas at fire staircase lobbies, accessible carpark, audio announcements, loop induction aid for hearing, and all sorts of services are designed with the correct sizes and features, so that disabled people can manage like everyone else in an environment that was created to make it difficult for disabled people to conduct their lives meaningfully and with dignity.

    I know of wheelchair users who could easily get kidney infections if they delay in using the toilets, or elderly people whose arthritis will act up so badly and painfully if they could not get a seat on the bus immediately.

    Everyone should fight for the rights of the disabled people to access all services and goods in this country equally like everyone else.

    Remember, it is not the person, but the environment that is disabling, be it physical or social.

    “…Over the past 20 years, a competing view known as the social model of disability has come to the fore. In this model, disability is seen more as a social construction than a medical reality. An individual may be impaired by a condition that requires daily living adaptations, but the bulk of his problem – his disability – can be found in the attitudinal and physical barriers erected by society…”

  7. Life Feel,
    Even the government’s courtesy campaigns have little impact in changing the public’s perception regarding this problem. A lot of people are still ignorant. I do whatever I can to highlight problems affecting me. However, I cannot effectively highlight problems faced by people with other form of disabilities because each of our problems are unique to ourselves. That is why I wish more disabled people with begin blogging. This is one of the easiest method of presenting our problems to the masses.

    It is good that you have realised that. No apologies needed. God bless you.

    fish fish,
    Looks like the government’s courtesy campaigns and those Pendidikan Moral or whatever they call that are not effective. How much more will it take to make people aware of such problems?

    Suria KLCC and Berjaya Times Square are doing that now. That is the reason why their disabled toilets are clean.

    Let me tell you what happened at Ikea when I was there the other day. There was a queue at the Gents but none of them thought of using the disabled toilet that was located inside the Gents. When I went in, they made way for me to enter the toilet with the disabled sign. You tell me what you think about that.

    We still have a long way to go. Disabled friends from developed nations tell me that we are not forceful enough in demanding for our rights. I can see a long struggle ahead with some people insisting to be accorded the same rights because of their “temporary” disabilities.

    I hope after this, some who are ignorant will understand what we have to go through every time we go out. I always need to plan ahead, checking out if those places that I need to go have amenities to cater to my needs only to discover that I have to fight with able-bodied people to use those facilities. Thank you again for explaining why only the disabled people are entitled to use them.

  8. I can see 3 issues here:

    (1) LecturerUM’s point about (some) disabled people needing immediate relief from a full bladder or face medical consequences. I know I’ve overlooked this.

    (2) The water torture i.e. it’s not so bad if you have to wait once or twice, but it becomes a serious problem if it happens all the time.

    (3) High usage ==> dirty toilet. Muck from dirty floor ends up on disabled’s fingers. This too is overlooked.

    What an interesting discussion. It’s so good to be able to see things from hitherto unknown angles.

    About Ikea, Peter, I think the guy who first formed that queue set the momentum for the rest. As it turned out, they did the right thing.

  9. Hello Peter

    I am glad that you are able to experience clean toilet. It is certainly unfortunate that it has to be locked up so that it can be properly used.

    There is a lot of education needed to educate people on good civic-mindedness.

    I can only guess based on personal observation is that the current climate of our society and individual interaction is that of me, myself and I mentality, where the strongest survived. I do not mean to provoke anything here and I myself is also constantly open to being educate on good civic-mindedness, to remind myself there are many persons who lack personal freedom normal person enjoy and take for granted.

    Nevertheless, I enjoy reading your thoughts and look forward to it.

  10. Peter,

    I make it a point (almost every time)to complain to the service provider whenever there is none or lack of services given to the disabled person. Generally, they would comply because they are running a business and bad press is not good for them.

    In our complaint, it would be good to give specific suggestions to them, which could include sizes and specifications.

    I think if many disabled persons and able-bodied people would show concern for the abuse of using accessible toilets by complaining to the owners of shopping complex EVERY TIME there is cause to complain, they would instruct their staff to be strict with who could use the accessible toilets. And in some places, will start using the ‘key system’.

    Parents with babies can also start complaining about lack of facilities to have nappy change. So we could expect facilties to be upgraded.

    People in general should start complaining about dirty toilets and give suggestions on how to improve.

    At first, when we start to complain we would get upset and angry, but after awhile, we keep doing it consciously and we won’t feel so bad, and in the long run, we help to contribute to a better environment. It will take time.

    (Thanks for sharing your experiences via the blog.)

  11. Tinkerbell,
    I am glad you are beginning to see this from our point of view.

    In this era, the notion of survival of the fittest does not apply anymore. Even the not so fit are able to survive reasonably well with new technologies and a society that looks after people like us. I, too, am still learning many things, especially about the rights of the disabled and the under-privileged. Thank you.

    This is something I will learn to do the next time I encounter such problems. We need louder voices to highlights these problems rather than suffer in silence. Thank you to you too for showing me the possibilities.

  12. Hi Peter

    It is regrettable that these toilets have to be locked at great inconvenience to those who need them. This is a matter of education which begins with awareness.

    After the PPS bash, I suddenly feel that blogs like yours are so very important. Thanks and all the best.

  13. davidteoh,
    It is an inconvenience but that is the only way to prevent abuse. I would like to see more blogs of people like me. This is a good way for us to share our lives and hopefully educate the public on the problems we are faced with. Thank you.

Comments are closed.