When the DAP took over Penang with its allies in the Pakatan Rakyat, I had great hope that things would change for the better for disabled people in my home state where accessibility is concerned. After nine months of governing the state, it is evident that my optimism was misplaced. The picture above taken on November 24, 2008 speaks volume of my despair.
I use very simple yardsticks to determine accessibility of a particular place. First is the inclusion of usable ramps. Second is the functionality of accessible toilets. Third is the provision of accessible parking spaces. These are the basic facilities that will determine whether disabled people can perform independently outside their homes or otherwise.
The two parking spaces for disabled people were put up in 2005 when a stretch of Upper Penang Road was renovated. The many times that I drove pass the Catholic Information Centre in recent months, the two parking spaces were usually occupied by four cars – assumably neither driven by disabled people nor carrying disabled passengers as evident by the close proximity of the cars.
When a simple thing like enforcement on existing facilities is not even carried out, dare I hope that the requirements in the Uniform Building By-Law 34A (UBBL 34A) be imposed on all existing and new public buildings? The government of Penang under Pakatan Rakyat is as disappointing as when the state was under Barisan Nasional when it comes to resolving disability issues. Apa macam Lim Guan Eng?