Letter To MPAJ

Finally, I have found some time to settle the one issue that has been foremost in my mind recently – the complaint letter to Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya (MPAJ). That letter was addressed to the President of the Municipal Council and copied to the Menteri Besar of Selangor, Setiausaha Sulit Kanan to the Menteri Perumahan dan Kerajaan Tempatan, Setiausaha Sulit Kanan to the Menteri Pembangunan Wanita, Keluarga dan Masyarakat, Ketua Pengarah Kebajikan Masyarakat, Yap Soo Sun, the ADUN for this area and the President of the Persatuan Orang-Orang Cacat Anggota Malaysia (Society of the Orthopaedically Handicapped Malaysia).

Wuan took some photographs of the offending lamppost to illustrate how impossible it was for me to manoeuvre around the lamppost by myself. With some assistance from her, it can be done but that poses an apparent danger as evident from the nasty fall that happened to us the other evening. From the last photograph, we can see how close the vehicle was to the walkway. Picture the time that I lay sprawled on the road. I was in the path of oncoming vehicles. I could have been killed. That could have happened to Wuan as well.

The lack of accessible walkways, together with the lack of accessible transport service, is one of the many reasons why we do not see many wheelchair users out and about in public places. In Tokyo, it was not unusual to see the severely disabled moving around in electric wheelchairs. It was also easy for wheelchair users to board the trains and buses there. As far as I know, Putra LRT is the only accessible public transport in Malaysia, and that was only after disabled persons staged demonstrations to demand for accessible facilities at the stations. It is an uphill battle for us all the way.

Inaccessible Pandan Perdana

Inaccessible Pandan Perdana

Inaccessible Pandan Perdana

Inaccessible Pandan Perdana

Inaccessible Pandan Perdana

May 28, 2006

YB Presiden Via email and post
Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya
Menara MPAJ
Jalan Pandan Utama
55100 Pandan Indah
Kuala Lumpur

Dear Sir,

INACCESSIBLE, DAMAGED AND OBSTRUCTED WALKWAYS AT PANDAN PERDANA A DANGER TO WHEELCHAIR USERS AND PEDESTRIANS

I reside at the address above. Several times a week, I patronise the shops at Jalan Perdana 4/5. I am a wheelchair user. I usually go together with my friend because I need her assistance with my wheelchair. We have two choices to go to the shops. One, I can either push myself on the busy road of Jalan Perdana 3/1 and risk being knocked over by a bus or a car. Two, to avoid that danger, my friend assists me by lifting my wheelchair onto the walkways. The walkways on both sides of Jalan Perdana 3/1 are not accessible. There are no kerb ramps to the walkways.

There is this lamppost at Jalan Perdana 3/1 (opposite the Jalan Perdana 4/5 shops) that stands right in the middle of the walkway. My friend always had difficulty manoeuvring my wheelchair around it because of the narrow space between the lamppost and the edge of the walkway.

While she was trying to manoeuvre my wheelchair around that particular lamppost on May 28, the front caster slipped off the edge of the walkway. We both lost balance and fell onto the road and were injured. All the time as I was lying helpless on the road, I worried that a bus may come and roll over us. Fortunately, three good Samaritans stopped their vehicles and helped me back onto the wheelchair.

The main reason we both fell off the walkway was because of the obstruction caused by the lamppost. It does not make sense to plant a lamppost right in the middle of the walkway. Additionally, many stretches of the walkways are damaged by the indiscriminate parking of buses, lorries and cars. These vehicles also cause obstructions that prevent pedestrians from using the walkways. This endangers our lives as we have no choice but to walk on the road.

As a pedestrian who uses that stretch of walkway often, I respectfully demand that you remove that offending lamppost immediately to prevent similar accidents from happening again. I also request that you make walkways, not only at Pandan Perdana, but in all areas under your jurisdiction accessible by constructing kerb ramps to allow accessibility to wheelchair users, prams and the elderly.

At the same time, the damaged walkways should be repaired without delay. The uneven surface is a danger to all pedestrians. Owners of vehicles that park on these walkways must be penalised. What is the purpose of constructing walkways that cannot be used? Does the MPAJ expect me use my wheelchair on public roads? Does the MPAJ expect pedestrians to risk their lives by walking on the roads?

I would like to remind you that time and again, our government has stressed that Malaysia is a masyarakat penyayang. How can we be a masyarakat penyayang when simple things like public walkways are not accessible to disabled persons and the elderly? The government should take the lead in instituting a caring Malaysian society by addressing, among others, the environmental barriers that are preventing disabled persons from participating in the activities of the community at large. The MPAJ can show its caring aspects by tackling the matters that I have highlighted. Please act now on these blatant examples of a non-masyarakat penyayang and non-pedestrian-friendly walkways before lives are lost.

I look forward to a positive reply from you regarding the resolution of this issue soonest possible.

Thank you.

12 thoughts on “Letter To MPAJ”

  1. really hope that our local municipal will assist and change the environment . We are still lagging behind so many countries and yet we dare to claim we are a developin country looking forward to be a develop country in 13 yrs time. Lets pray they act on ur letter, maestro…

    Peter:
    Thank you.

  2. that looks familiar. Hey, I know that place. And let’s hear what they have to say…

    Peter:
    I am also looking forward to it too.

  3. Perhaps you are barking up a wrong tree. MPAJ is not responsible for the installation of lampost. Try sending a copy to TNB. FYI, MPAJ is not in the habit of replying to complains direct.

    This lampost is one of the many exmples you find. The sighting of a telephone booth right in the middle is another bad example. And the use of pavement blocks is another big problesm as inevitably the rains would disloged them and and form an uneven surface

  4. Whatever it is, Pete has fowarded the complaint to various other authorities including the MB of Selangor. Just pray that his complaint is acted upon and not ignored. Kudos Pete.

    Btw Pete, I can’t help but be distracted by your sunglasses and serious facial expression. Ahem, leng chai hor. :D

    Peter:
    Sunglasses? Hmm…

  5. It’s true about the different elements of the street environment being under different ministries, like the bus stop shelter’s location, various street furnitures – telephone booth, lamp post, post box and so on.

    The issue here is people, and not only disabled people, should be actively campaigning for problems and bombard regularly all these municipal councils with all the problems they encounter. Using Peter’s case, people who could be involved in this campaign will be ready to take shots of UNACCESSIBLE street elements and barriers that they themselves have problems. It could be your elderly mother or relative who cannot climb the tall curbs or cannot run fast enough at the traffic lights or crossings or difficulty of climbing pedestrian bidges and so on.

    Imagine the MB of Selangor anf the MPKT’s Director getting numerous letters of complaint with lots of shots of these problems. Surely they will get the idea.

    I think we can get some funding for this campaign we can get a pack of leaflets and checklist of problems encountered and urge people to do so by writing to these various ministries.

    To me the main problem is people participating in this campaign.

    I had chatted before with a DBKL officer and he said he wished MORE PEOPLE write to complain but he seldom get any. Imagine that!

    Peter is the exception and not the norm.

    Peter:
    The leaflets and checklist is an interesting idea. Lets work something out.

  6. As someone who had studied building construction and facilities for the disabled in the UK, I was also disappointed to find that Malaysia truly lacks provisions for the disabled individuals. We require:
    1.) More ramps for wheelchairs in our shopping complexes and cinema, especially at entrances and carpark areas.
    2.) Bigger lifts that can accommodate wheelchairs. Especially in condos and apartments and shopping centres.
    3.) Braille on the buttons of lifts and under certain signage (like doors to public toilets).
    4.) Fire alarms for the hearing-impaired. Ringing fire-bells should also have flickering lights for those who are hearing-impaired. Especially in condos and apartments.
    5.) Better pedestrian walkways (wider, with no obstructions) – as mentioned above.
    6.) Better taxi-stands and bus stops for wheelchair users (especially LRT feeder bus stands) – should be covered and wide enough.
    7.) Ramps / lifts in LRT stations. Yes, all of them have lifts but to get to some of the LRT stations, you’d have to climb some stairs before you reach the main area with the ticketing booths and lifts…!
    8.) Fire escape routes for the disabled (like self-powered lifts with its own generator). Can you imagine what would happen if a disabled person was trapped on the 18th floor of a condo / office and all the lifts were not working?!
    Just my 2 cents.

    Peter:
    You have covered many aspects of the inaccessility in Malaysia. Those problems have been identified but nothing is being done to address it. It ill be a long struggle but we have to advocate for these facilities.

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