After a two-month battle to have the road hump outside my house removed, I can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Encik Jamali, the Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya (MPAJ) engineer who oversaw the construction, came over to discuss a resolution to my complaint.
This came about just two days after the news of my complaint was published in The Star on 6 November. Berita Harian ran a similar article in 19 October. My neighbours and I also submitted an appeal letter to the Yang DiPertua Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya Dato’ Mohammad Bin Yacob on 28 October asking for his intervention in this matter.
Together with two other affected neighbours, we invited MCA Pandan Division Head of Legal Bureau Gary Lim to join in the meeting as he has been pursuing this matter with MPAJ on our behalf after we were given the cold shoulder by people whom we went to seek help from. Gary was stuck in a traffic jam at the Federal Highway due to the heavy rain and could not make it. His assistant came in his place.
Encik Jamali apologised on behalf of MPAJ for causing the inconvenience to me. I told him that I was glad he came to see for himself the problems we have been facing and that we hope to resolve the matter amicably. He proposed paving a path with interlocking blocks on the strip of land beside the hump as a by-pass.
We rejected the proposal as the pavement will invite other neighbours to park their cars on it and we will be back to square one with me having to traverse the hump again. Moreover, the hump is blocking the flow of rainwater down the road. The heavy rain prior to the meeting had caused a large puddle of water to form on the opposite neighbours’ driveway. They have had to suffer this problem each time it rained after the construction of the hump.
We told Encik Jamali that as far as we, the residents of the three houses facing the hump, are concerned, we want it removed. And if MPAJ wants to rebuild it further down the road, we advised him to seek the consent of the house owners and residents affected to avoid another discontent from arising.
Encik Jamali agreed that the procedure for building road humps as practised by the Majlis Perbandaran Seberang Prai (MPSP) is a good one. I had attached the MPSP flyer on the requirements for applications of road humps to the appeal letter to the Yang DiPertua earlier. Applications must be submitted with letters of consent from property owners of houses where the hump is to be constructed and signatures from four house facing the hump. He said that MPAJ will come out with a similar procedure for future applications of road humps in residential areas in the municipality.
We also pointed out to him that we know residents along the road were asked to sign a petition in support of the hump after it was built and that was not right. MPAJ and ahli majlis Dorothy Cheong had said that the requests were made in July by many residents. The road hump was built on 12 September while the petition was signed twelve days later on 24 September. He just smiled.
After further discussion, he agreed to remove the road hump. I asked for a time frame. He told us to give him two weeks. We agreed. He said he will report to his superiors regarding this new development. I truly want to believe Encik Jamali’s words but I will keep my fingers crossed until the road hump is removed once and for all.
Gary called his assistant to check on the outcome of the meeting a short while after Encik Jamali left. He said that he will continue follow up on the case until the matter is resolved. The neighbours, Wuan and I appreciate Gary’s effort in pursuing this matter on our behalf. At the very least, he was willing to listen to our grouses and made attempts to assist us.
I was given the run around when I first filed a complaint with MPAJ. Likewise, when I sought the assistance from ADUN for Teratai Jenice Lee to resolve this matter, she got ahli majlis MPAJ Dorothy Cheong to look into it. The latter did not bother to understand the hardship that “people of my situation” have to face after the hump was built and kept telling me that a majority of ten residents have requested for it and took no further action.
Dorothy Cheong’s arrogance in belittling my complaint is regrettable She was reported by The Star to have said that “We can’t entertain one person’s complaint as we want to help everyone”. It is noble of her to want to help everyone but her disregard for the rights of the minority is most contemptible.
I am absolutely convinced that my complaint is valid. The hump affects my right to access to public facilities under the Persons with Disabilities Act 2008. Members of Parliament, State Assembly Members and municipal councillors should be educated on disability and minority equality before they are allowed to take office. This is to ensure they serve with fairness and equity. In the meantime, I await the removal of the hump with bated breath.
Tags: ADUN Teratai, Akta OKU 2008, Akta Orang Kurang Upaya 2008, disabled people Malaysia, Dorothy Cheong, Gary Lim, Jamali b Othman, Jenice Lee, Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya, MCA Pandan Division Head of Legal Bureau, MPAJ, Pandan Perdana, Persons with Disabilities Act 2008, PWD Act 2008, road hump, wheelchair user Malaysia, Yang Dipertua Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya
Berita Harian reporter Siti Haliza Yusop wrote this article regarding my complaint about the road hump that was built right beside the driveway outside the house. To date, the issue is still not resolved.
The rights of three property owners and residents whose houses are facing the hump and my right to an accessible environment under the Persons with Disabilities Act 2008 are disregarded by MPAJ and the ahli majlis for Zone 20.
The reason for building the hump was that a “majority” 10 residents requested for it in July. I have a neighbour who can confirm that he was asked to sign a petition to support the road hump on 24 September 2012, 12 days after it was built.
The ahli majlis tried to “persuade” me to accept it as she believed that people of my situation (as a wheelchair user) would welcome it as it is for my safety and that of other residents, never mind that the hump is a barrier to my mobility and a hazard to my safety.
Throwing the majority card at me is really irresponsible. So, the rights of the minority do not have to be respected? Is this what they call the “tyranny of the majority”? Is the Persons with Disabilities Act 2008 effective in protecting my interests in this situation?
Tags: Akta OKU 2008, Akta Orang Kurang Upaya 2008, Berita Harian, Dorothy Cheong, DUN Teratai, Jenice Lee, Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya, MPAJ, Pandan Perdana, Persons with Disabilities Act 2008, PWD Act 2008, road hump, wheelchair user Malaysia
I am living with tetraparesis – muscular weakness of all my four limbs. My hands are weak although I have functional use of my arms. I have learnt to live with paralysis and the necessity in doing things differently where I can and use adaptive aids where I cannot.
I renovate the house for wheelchair access. I get the best wheelchair I can afford so that I can be more independent. This is also to protect my shoulders from repetitive strain injury and to improve my posture. Even the wheelchair cushion to protect my buttocks from developing pressure sores costs more than RM1,000.
I got a car, installed a hand control kit and learnt to drive because public transport service is scant when it comes to fulfilling the needs of disabled people who need to move around. Nevertheless, I still prefer buses and trains to driving because I can dispense with the need to transfer from wheelchair to car and vice versa every time I go out.
Over the years, I have spent a handsome amount for adaptive aids and renovations to enable myself to the best of my ability. That, unfortunately, is not enough for me to live a truly fulfilling life. The world outside is fraught with barriers the moment I get out from my house. Danger from bad design and construction lurks at every turn of the corner.
What I cannot understand is why the government continue to allow barriers to be put up despite recognising the importance of accessibility to the built environment for disabled people as promulgated in the Persons with Disabilities Act. Why cannot our country, in the spirit of Malaysia Boleh, put in effort to make the infrastructure accessible to everyone?
Tags: Akta OKU 2008, Akta Orang Kurang Upaya 2008, disabled people Malaysia, Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat, Jabatan Kerajaan Tempatan, Jabatan Pembangunan Orang Kurang Upaya JPOKU, Kementerian Pembangunan Wanita Keluarga dan Masyarakat, Kementerian Perumahan dan Kerajaan Tempatan, Persons with Disabilities Act 2008, Pihak Berkuasa Tempatan, PWD Act 2008, wheelchair user Malaysia