Interrupted Journey

With the fuel price increase, my friend Robert and I wanted to take a bus to Suria KLCC two Saturdays ago. We wanted to avoid driving there like we always did to save on petrol and the exorbitant parking fees. We stay in Pandan Perdana which is about a 15-minute journey by car from the landmark. We knew that RapidKL buses serving our housing estate were inaccessible but we wanted to try our luck to see if anything has changed since. The following two pictures tell a compelling story that disabled people all over Malaysia are facing.

RapidKL bus at Pandan Perdana
Photo by Wuan.

RapidKL bus at Pandan Perdana
Photo by Wuan.

Without an accessible public transport system, most of us are stuck at home watching the world pass by. We have to miss out on educational and employment opportunities. Our social life is limited to people who come to visit us at home which is far and few in between. We are unable to participate effectively in social, cultural, religious and political activities. We are like katak di bawah tempurung (frog living under the coconut shell) not due to our own doing but because our needs are ignored and are often delegated to the lowest of priorities. If nothing is being done to address this issue, disabled people will still be in this deplorable situation when Malaysia becomes a developed nation by 2020 which is just a short 12 years away.

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Minion to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. Columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. Principal Trainer at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

4 thoughts on “Interrupted Journey”

  1. i totally agree with you that access for the disabled is by and large, non-existent here. then there’s the example of the developers of plaza sentral trying to do their bit to society by adding ramps throughout the walkway from KL sentral throughout the length of plaza sentral (walkway is just next to sookha sentral). The ramps are a ridiculous 40% incline which is really just insane for any wheelchair bound person to attempt to go up or down the ramp.

    this is just an example of the authorities doing something which adds no value or function and then boast about caring for the society through these actions. a little thought process is all that is required to have made the ramp usable.

    Peter:
    Actually, the people who build ramps do not even have to be smart. They just need to follow the specifications in Malaysian Standard 1184 and Malaysian Standard 1331.

  2. I think I did notice a few buses in town that had this special ramp but I don’t see it in Pandan Perdana. Wonder why.

    About the 40% matter, those who made it probably thinks there are always someone to push from behind or all wheel chairs are electronically powered. And there you have Terengganu MPs buying Mercededes Benzes using the public’s fund.

    Peter:
    These buses are running the trunk routes. They do not serve the local routes. The buses with ramps also do not pick up wheelchair users because of issues with safety and functionality of the facilities. There is no way one can be pushed up on a wheelchair on a 40% incline. I would like to see whoever build those steep ramps get on a wheelchair and being pushed up, better still down, these things.

  3. I can name you a few individuals that the ramp was built for- superman, spiderman,batman, the hulk and cicak man to name a few.I think you need to be hooked on steroids to push a person in a wheelchair up a 40 gradient incline. I know,I’ve tried and short of falling on my knees and suffering an angina attack,we didn’t make much progress-next time I’ll bring a 4wd range rover.These ramps were designed by numbnuts who reckon the disabled person will get off and crawl up the ramp while someone pushes the empty wheelchair up.
    Ramps on buses on the other hand are for lard-a** drivers who can’t climb onto their seats and photo opportunities I guess.

    Peter:
    What else can I say?

  4. As I live in the UK and ramps and buses are much better here (its by no means perfect, read my blog entry (http://ewheeling.over-blog.com/article-21594317.html) , I do not want to add anything except that it stops me from being able to come home to visit relatives. Even when I have a power wheelchair, I cannot figure out how to get out of the airport and when I use a manual chair, I cannot push myself much. But this is nothing compared with what you guys face everyday.

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