Love Letter To PLUS – Unusable “Accessible” Toilet

Puan Khalilah Talha is the General Manager Corporate Communications at PLUS Expressways Berhad. She had responded to my complaints regarding the facilities along the North South Expressway, especially the dangerous ramps at the Ayer Keroh RSA last year.

The email below is regarding the toilet with the wheelchair logo above the door that I could not use at Ulu Bernam RSA last week.

Dear Puan Khalilah,

I would like to point you to the “accessible” toilet at Ulu Bernam RSA Southbound. I was truly shocked to discover that I could not close the door after I got in. It opened inwards and there was little space for me to maneuver. That being the only toilet provided for disabled people at the RSA, I had no choice but to empty my bladder into my diaper. It is ridiculous to indicate that the toilet is for disabled people when it is not usable by a wheelchair user. I hope this matter is rectified soonest possible.

On another note, I am truly disappointed to note that my previous complaints 1 year ago regarding accessible parking were not looked into. The parking spaces at the RSAs and lay-bys that I stopped at do not comply with the code of practice. Most of them are too narrow. Worse still, most of these spaces were occupied by vehicles with non-disabled passengers or drivers. This defeats the purpose of allocating such space when disabled people do not have the opportunity to use them at all.

I use the NSE frequently. As a disabled person, I am not even asking for privileges and discount on tolls. I pay the same fare as other non-disabled drivers. All I am asking for is that PLUS provide facilities that are functional, safe and convenient for disabled drivers and passengers alike. That is the least PLUS can do to ensure equality to disabled people using the NSE.

I would like to advise PLUS to conduct a thorough access audit on all the RSAs and lay-bys to ensure that the facilities comply with the code of practice. Putting the wheelchair logo on the toilet door or painting the same logo on the parking space do not make them usable by disabled people. I am sure you are aware of the Malaysian Standard MS 1183, MS 1184 and MS 1331. I discovered from a cursory audit last week that many of the facilities do not comply with the requirements.

With the Akta Orang Kurang Upaya in force now and Malaysia being a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that will soon be ratified, it is time for PLUS to seriously work towards ensuring that all public facilities along the expressways are fully accessible, not only to disabled people, but to everyone that uses them.

Your attention in this matter is most appreciated.

Thank you.

Peter Tan

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. End-stage renal disease since 2017. Principal Facilitator at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. Former columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.