Inaccessible Pandan Perdana

Pandan Perdana
Pandan Perdana – Narrow road and an inaccessible walkway.
File photo dated May 21, 2006.

There was a slight drizzle. It was dark. The tree just below the street lamp shaded the illumination. It was ten past eight. It was an accident waiting to happen. And it happened. Wuan was pushing me along the walkway from the shops back to her house after dinner yesterday. As always, she would slightly lift my wheelchair and manoeuvre around one particular lamppost along the way because there was barely enough space between that lamppost and kerb to allow my wheelchair to pass.

Pandan Perdana
Pandan Perdana – Lamppost in the center of walkway.
File photo dated May21, 2006.

While she was lifting the wheelchair, the right front caster went off the edge of the kerb. She desperately tried to pull it back onto the walkway. It was an impossible task even if she had the strength. She lost her balance. The back wheel went off the kerb as well. In a split second, my wheelchair tilted right, dropped onto the road and landed on its side. I was thrown onto the road by the impact. I could feel the rough surface of the road scraping against some parts of my body and the stinging pain that ensued. From her muffled voice, I knew that Wuan fell onto the road too.

Pandan Perdana
Pandan Perdana – The narrow space between lamppost and kerb
File photo dated May21, 2006.

She got up and kept apologising, “I am so sorry darling.” I could see the panic in her face. She had turned a few shades paler. I could see the fear in her eyes when she asked if I was injured. I kept reassuring her that I was all right and asked if she injured herself. Nevertheless, at the back of my mind, what I feared most was being run over by a passing vehicle, especially by a bus, as I was lying helpless on the road in the semi-darkness.

Pandan Perdana
Pandan Perdana – Car parked on the walkway.
File photo dated May21, 2006.

A beat-up van passed us by as I lay sprawled on the road. It stopped a short distance away. Two men got out from the van and came running towards us. I could hear the sounds of a motorcycle stopping behind me. In those few seconds of confusion, someone asked how he could help. A man wearing a helmet was just behind me, helping Wuan with the wheelchair. The two men from the van were standing in front of me.

Pandan Perdana
Pandan Perdana – Another car parked on the damaged walkway opposite.
File photo dated May21, 2006.

I instructed Wuan to put the brakes on and push back the armrest on my side to make it easier to put me back on the wheelchair. Someone held my right arm, another my left, and with a single heave both placed me back onto the wheelchair. Before Wuan and I could thank them enough, they had already left – the van and the motorcycle melting into the distance and darkness. Without them, Wuan would not have been able to get me back onto the wheelchair.

Pandan Perdana
Superficial wounds on my left palm and right forearm.

“Are you all right? Did you injure yourself?” I asked Wuan, worried that in the ensuing commotion, she had not realised that she was injured. She did a cursory check. There were some minor scrapes on her leg from falling onto the road. I lost some skin and flesh on my left hand, the result of attempting to break my fall with it. There were also some superficial wounds on my right arm, elbow, leg and foot. My right triceps ached. I must have pulled that muscle when I fell.

Pandan Perdana
Close-up of the cuts on my right forearm.

What pained me most were not the minor injuries to Wuan and myself but the stupidity of planting a lamppost right in the center of the walkway. It does not take much intelligence to know that walkways are for pedestrians. They are to prevent pedestrians from walking on the road and endangering their own lives and those of motorists. Here, we have a lamppost that stuck out like a sore thumb blocking easy access of the walkway. Walkways are roads for pedestrains. Would anybody in his or her right frame of mind install a lamppost right in the middle of a public road? Wuan could have been seriously injured. The fall could have broken a bone or two in me or I could have killed because the engineers and architects at Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya and Tenaga Nasional Berhad did not see it fit to relocate the obstructing lamppost. Idiots!

Pandan Perdana
Close-up of the wound on my left palm.

Walkways in many parts of Malaysia are a hazard. Never mind that they are devoid of kerb ramps at the ends for accessibility. If there are kerb ramps, most time they are not constructed to be functional. Some are in a state of disrepair with uneven surfaces while some have uncovered holes that could cause a fracture if a leg was trapped in it. Every time I want to get onto the walkways to reduce the risks of being hit by a vehicle on the road, I needed assistance. Malaysian kerbs are being constructed higher and higher to prevent vehicles from being parked on it. This has greatly inconvenienced those who have mobility problems and are unable to climb the 6-inch height, especially the elderly. Then, there is the danger of falling from misstepping on the sudden drop at the end of the walkways when getting off them.

Pandan Perdana
Close-up of the wound on my right elbow.

Very often, walkways are adorned with street furniture that causes great inconvenience to disabled persons, namely wheelchair users and the visually impaired. Refuse bins, traffic signs, post boxes, lampposts and even trees are left to obstruct the flow. Apart from that, we have to contend with inconsiderate drivers, motorcyclists and trishaw riders who park their vehicles indiscriminately on the walkways. Hawkers and shopkeepers are culprits to such inconveniences too with their carts and goods.

Pandan Perdana
Close-up of the wounds on my right leg.

Now, Wuan and I have to think of ways and means to go to the shops without getting on the road and risk being hit by passing vehicles or get on the offending walkway and risk falling off it again. For wheelchair users, safe options are very limited or even non-existent. That is how much we are worth to the government and the local authorities. According to Wikipedia, Malaysia has the best expressway network in Southeast Asia and is ranked third in Asia. That is something that I have always been proud of as a Malaysian. However, in my eyes, Malaysia ranks zero in terms of accessible walkways. How ironic.

Note: The photos taken on May 21, 2006 were for an entry I wanted to write on inaccessibility in Pandan Perdana. The accident expedited the process.

Related entry:
A Day At Pandan Indah – Pandan Indah is also under the jurisdiction of Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya.

21 thoughts on “Inaccessible Pandan Perdana”

  1. omg im glad u guys are okay. if there’s any comfort to be derived from this is that there are still helpful people around.

    p/s: will u send this to the newspapers?

    Peter:
    Thanks for your concern. We are all albeit shaken. I am drafting a letter to the President of MPAJ that will copied to the ministries and people concerned. Yes, the newspapers will get a copy of that letter too.

  2. *hugs* Wuan is great. Hope both of you recover from the flesh wounds. The memory will be more difficult to get over, looking forward to your letter to those concerned

    Peter:
    The wounds are healing fine. Thanks.

  3. Yah, glad to see no serious injuries.

    Stupid council, what a place to put a lampost.

    Peter:
    We were lucky. It could have been worse.

  4. I’m so sorry to see this. The government should really look into this matter seriously.

    Hope you and Wuan are okay.
    Please take good care of yourself and Wuan.

    Peter:
    Obviously some people have not been doing their job properly.

  5. gosh i’m so sorry to hear this. i hope both you and wuan are ok now. i walked frequently from the weld to klcc along the pedestrian walkway in jalan p. ramlee. it’s dangerous there too, lotsa lamp posts in the middle of the road and uneven walkway. i what to do, the mayor and all the big shots dun need to be on their foot to go about town what!

    Peter:
    We are both all right now. Thank you. The state of the walkways in Malaysia is pathetic. The local councils are not doing their job. Makes us wonder hat they are really doing huh!

  6. Hi Peter,

    My cousins live Pandan Perdana. Just to tell you that you have to be careful there. The traffic there are terrible. I hope your letter will make a different.
    Glad that you are ok.

    Peter:
    Yes, I know. Thank you for reminding me.

  7. OH DEAR! Sorry to know this. Its all superficial wound right? Are you ok otherwise? Is Wuan alright now? Such incident can happen to anyone really. *sigh*

    Peter:
    We are ok. Thanks. It would not have happened if the walkway was properly done.

  8. Poor Peter. So soory to see you have lost some skin and blood there. my sympathies for the pain and suffering endured. Hope you recover from the truma soon. *hugs*

    Peter:
    Thanks.

  9. I trust you’ll inform the people responsible that thanks to the internet the whole world is able to marvel at their crass stupidity. It sounds like it must have been an extremely unpleasant experience for you both.

    Peter:
    Yes I will definitely write to MPAJ regarding this. We are still shaken but recovering. Thanks.

  10. Happy to hear that not much happened. Happy to hear that people are so quick to help. But you are rigth – walkways in Malaysia are pathetic!

    Peter:
    Yes, thank God for helpful people.

  11. Glad to know both of you are okay there, Peter. Btw, I’ve noticed that the MPPPP here have rebuilt the sidewalks around the area of my house, but still they build it around lampposts and trees.

    Peter:
    The MPPP have made the walkways at part of Penang road accessible but is not using the same standards elsewhere. This is such a pity.

  12. Sorry to hear about the accident.

    I once asked a guy in authority about the condition of pedestrian walkways in Malaysia and he made a joke out of it sayign that Malaysians don’t like to walk because of the hot humid weather. I remember thinking :”not everyone has a Chauffeured driven luxury car”.

    That is not a excuse not to build accssible walkways. You are right in thinking that way. How many of us can afford a car?

  13. Sorry !! totally not aware about it until reading it today. No wonder you looked so tiring during the workshop…… btw, let me know if you need any help for the June seminar…….

    Peter:
    I was tired also because I had a flu. Thanks for the offer. Will definitely get your help if I need it.

  14. What a terrible thing! The bruises will be gone soon but the vulnerability and fear may not go so quickly. I was at Putrajaya a few days ago and here it’s the opposite. The road dividers are as broad as a street making it such an exhausting distance to walk in the heat from one government building to the next. I asked someone what is the purpose of such broad road dividers and was told that they use them for National Day parade. Take care and keep up with the wonderful things you have been doing.

    Peter:
    Thank for your concern. We are still using that same stretch of walkway because that is the only way. I told Wuan that to fall once was a tragedy but to fall again on the same spot is stupidity. But what can we do? Complaint letter coming up. :)

  15. What’s the purpose of the street lamp if it’s shaded by the tree? Sigh.

    I’m so glad those kind people stopped to help. Many would have turned a blind eye and drove away.

    Peter:
    Thank God for kind people.

  16. I live in Pandan Perdana and i know it too well. It’s not MPAJ’s fault, sue TALAM!

    Peter:
    As far as I am concerned, MPAJ is the authorities responsible for the facilities mentioned and I will pursue it with them.

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