Pursuant to my unpleasant experience of being trapped in one of the toilets for disabled persons at the Penang International Airport for the second time, I have sent an email to Noor Hafiza Ruslan, Senior Executive of Corporate Communications for Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad to complain about it.
Dear Miss Hafiza,
RE: FAULTY TOILET AT THE PENANG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
I am a severely physically disabled person suffering from spinal cord injury. I use a wheelchair and have poor hand dexterity. Apart from my physical disabilities, I also suffer from chronic kidney failure and need to use the toilet on a regular basis for intermittent catheterisation. I travel alone frequently between Penang and Kuala Lumpur via the Penang International Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
For the second consecutive time in three months, I was trapped in the same toilet for disabled persons near Gate 8 of the Penang International Airport yesterday. The previous incident was in May 28, 2005. I am not sure if that particular door knob was faulty or not. Nevertheless, I would like to point out that that round door knobs are not suitable for those with poor hand dexterity. A lever handle is the preferred fixture for such facilities. Additionally, a help button or cord should be installed inside the toilet for the purpose of summoning for assistance should the need arise.
Apart from that, one of the toilets for disabled persons at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport was faulty as well the last time I had to use it in June 25, 2005. The lock was difficult to engage and disengage. This is another potential trap for people with disabilities if the problem is not looked into with haste.
Those are two of my gripes regarding the facilities for people with disabilities at the airports in Penang and Kuala Lumpur. I am certain there are many other inconveniences and improperly implemented amenities for people like me that I have yet to come across. I would like to advise you to liaise with organisations of people with disabilities to systematically audit such amenities to ensure that they are implemented according to approved standards and are fully functional at all times. Airports are gateways to Malaysia and it would give our country a bad image if disabled foreign travellers are unable to enjoy these facilities or are frequently trapped inside toilets the moment they arrive.
Should you need to contact these organisations to assist Malaysia Airports in this aspect, please get in touch with me. I am certain that they will be more than happy to provide you with the standards and help audit in making all the airports under your management totally barrier free for people with disabilities. In the meantime, please look into the defects mentioned and rectify them immediately to prevent further incidents. Hopefully when I need to use any of these toilets again, the problems are already rectified. I look forward to hearing the good news from you regarding this issue soon.
Trapped In the Toilet Again!