New Straits Times Property – December 2, 2006.
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The New Straits Times ran an objective piece regarding accessible facilities for disabled persons by G. Umakanthan in its weekly Property pullout today. Umakanthan is the Copy Editor for NST Property. This is in conjunction with the International Day of Disabled Persons that falls on December 3 every year as declared by the United Nations. Reading that article made me wonder how long more disabled persons have to wait before they can move about freely and safely in society.
As it is now, we have to brave life and limb whenever we go out. The modern concrete structures that symbolise Malaysia as a developing country is as good as a jungle still. Every step of the way is fraught with danger for disabled persons. Uneven and inaccessible walkways force wheelchair users onto the roads where they are at risk of being knocked down by speeding vehicles. This is just one of the many perils that disabled persons have to face every time they go out.
Legislation that was drawn up to ensure that disabled persons enjoy equal rights where accessibility is concerned is all pure hogwash. Without commitment and enforcement , it is as good as impotent. Time and again, we have listened to sweet promises from government officials that were never fulfilled. Truly, it was all nothing more than hot air. How long more before Malaysia can claim to be a fully inclusive society? Time will tell. And time is one thing that some of us do not have much left of.