Thirteen representatives from the Barrier-Free Environment Group (BEAT) attended a meeting chaired by the Timbalan Ketua Setiausaha (Perancangan) Kementerian Pengangkutan Malaysia Datuk Long See Wool together with representatives from related government agencies Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan (JPJ / Road Transport Department), Lembaga Perlesenan Kenderaan Perdagangan (LPKP / Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board), Jabatan Penerbangan Awam (Department of Civil Aviation), Jabatan Laut Malaysia (Marine Department Malaysia); service providers Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB), Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM), Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAS) and Rangkaian Pengangkutan Integrasi Deras Sdn. Bhd. (RapidKL). This first meeting was held at the Kementerian Pengangkutan Malaysia in Putrajaya.
During the meeting, BEAT stressed on the importance of an accessible public transport system in Malaysia and that transport operators should use the term “universal accessibility” instead of “disabled friendly”. The term “disabled friendly” gives a connotation that such transport are especially for disabled persons only when in reality it also benefits senior citizens, pregnant women and adults with prams, among others.
BEAT called on the ministry in cooperation with the LPKP to draw up guidelines and standards for accessibility of public transport and to ensure that all new buses of all bus operators are accessible. With regards to vehicle modifications for disabled persons, the Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan was requested to simplify the application process and reduce the number of trips applicants have to make to Putrajaya. On the issue of licenses being tagged to a specific car, JPJ clarified that it was not an official procedure and that they will look into it.
Briefly, the other issues that were brought up touched on the timeframe to make all public transport accessible including buses, monorails and trains. At the same time, supporting infrastructure such as transport hubs, terminals and connecting pathways should be made accessible too without which the accessible transport would rendered unusable. The many points raised during the meeting were compiled into a document from feedback and suggestions by BEAT members and presented to Datuk Long and all present. All parties agreed to look into the issues raised and where possible resolve them before the next meeting.