The following is an excerpt from the Persons with Disabilities Act 2008 (Akta Orang Kurang Upaya 2008):
Access to public transport facilities
27. (1) Persons with disabilities shall have the right to access to and use of public transport facilities, amenities and services open or provided to the public on equal basis with persons without disabilities.
The issue about access to public transport for disabled people has been left lingering since the time disabled people came out to protest against Star LRT for barring us from taking the trains in 1994. More recently, when Dato’ Seri Chan Kong Choy was the Minister of Transport he had a meeting with disabled people at his ministry where he announced that all public transport will be made accessible. My friend Robert Wang and I approached Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat in August 2008 regarding the same issue when he came to Pandan Perdana to officiate an event at the Pandan Lake.
Today, The Star reported that Minister of Transport Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat has directed agencies under the Ministry to provide accessible facilities. It is time the Ministry of Transport stop dilly dallying with lip service only to this long standing issue and work together with the Ministry of Housing and Local Government to look for ways to resolve it for once and for all.
The article quoted the Minister of Transport as saying that he had come across some cases where physically-challenged individuals struggled to get onto public transport. Struggling is an understatement. For wheelchair users, it is an impossibility. It is physically challenging for us all right. These challenges are created by a non-inclusive public transport and casued by the lack of enforcement of the Uniform Building By-Law 34A.
The government has acknowledged that access to public transport is a right for disabled people. So why are accessible facilities still not provided in this area? How long more do disabled people have to wait to be able to use public transport? And whatever happened to the Master Plan on Public Transportation Policy commissioned by the Ministry of Transport on 2008 under the Abdullah administration?
The Star Online
Home > News > Nation
Tuesday April 14, 2009
More disabled-friendly public transport ordered
KUALA LUMPUR: Agencies under the Transport Ministry, including KTM Bhd, have been directed to come out with more facilities to make it easier for the disabled who use public transport.
Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat said yesterday there was still room for improvement in the facilities provided for the physically-challenged.
“We are aware that a lot of public transport facilities do not take their needs into consideration.
“At the fourth quarter of last year, I instructed several agencies under my ministry to take into account the needs of these individuals,” he told reporters after opening the KKAJ Vocational Centre for the Disabled in Bandar Baru Ampang here yesterday.
Overcoming obstacles: (From right) Resorts World Bhd deputy chairman Tun Hanif Omar sealing a packet of roasted green peas in the presence of Ong and Resorts World Bhd executive director Tan Sri Alwi Jantan during the opening of the KKAJ Vocational Centre for the Disabled in Bandar Baru Ampang in Kuala Lumpur.
Ong, who is the patron of the centre, said he had instructed the agencies to speed up the process.
“I wish to see the public transport system, whether it is under the purview of my ministry or other ministries, to take this matter seriously.
“I know it is not easy and there are a lot of obstacles but we must endeavour to overcome the challenges,” he said.
Ong said he had come across some cases where physically-challenged individuals struggled to get onto public transport.
“I do not think it is fair.”
Earlier in his speech, Ong said physically-challenged individuals needed assistance not in the form of welfare.
“They need help in the terms of training opportunities to excel in life and to compete with others. These are the key parameters that we should set our sights on,” he said.
The KKAJ Vocational Centre for the Disabled is set up by Resorts World Bhd and Kelab Kercergasan Ampang Jaya to give disabled people a chance to acquire skills and to earn an income for themselves.
The centre provides training in paper lamination, document binding and food packaging.