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Parking For Disabled People In Selangor And Penang

January 19th, 2010 - Tuesday

Selangor issued free parking stickers to disabled persons some time in September last year which covered all the municipalities in the state. Penang just issued similar free parking stickers to disabled persons for areas under the jurisdiction of the Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang (MPPP).

Frankly, I would not mind paying for parking if there are sufficient accessible parking spaces and the parking meters are convenient to use. After all, what is 30sen per half hour compared to parking in shopping complexes which ranges from RM1 to RM3 per hour?

Nevertheless, in my opinion, the practice of providing free parking for disabled people should be tied to the provision of accessible public transport and built environment. Many disabled people are compelled to drive because that is the only way to travel. The infrastructure in Malaysia is still as inaccessible as it was half a century ago.

If public transport and the built environment can provide a seamless journey, I would very much prefer to use public transport instead of going through the hassle of transferring from wheelchair into the car and vice versa, and then have difficulty looking for a suitable parking space. Using public transport is cheaper too as compared to paying for car installments, petrol and maintenance.

Free parking, therefore, should be viewed as a form of “compensation” for the lack of accessible infrastructure that impedes the mobility of disabled people. It should never be considered an act of charity on the part of the government and a right to such freebies on the part of disabled people.

Charity is not a right. It puts the beneficiary on an unequal footing with the benefactor. In the pursuit of rights, equality and dignity, disabled people should not expect to be accorded privileges. If we want equality, then we have to play our part in society, too, by paying for our share.

Anyway, what I would like to see is sufficient parking spaces of the correct dimensions for wheelchair users to exit and enter the car conveniently and safely, and that these spaces are not abused by non-disabled drivers or vehicles without a disabled passenger.

Accessible parkings should preferably be perpendicular to the kerb. The recommended width is 3.6m as prescribed in the Guidelines on Buildings Requirements for Disabled Persons published the Jabatan Kerajaan Tempatan. This recommendation complies with MS 1184 and MS 1331. The recommended width for a regular parking space is 2.4m.

Parking for disabled people in Penang - screen capture from The Star Online
Parking for disabled people in Penang – screen capture from The Star Online.

Parallel parking is not recommended unless it is away from the flow of traffic. It poses a safety risk for the wheelchair user when exiting or entering the car with the traffic passing by at close promixity. This point is what I wanted to raise when I saw the image in The Star Online.

The parking space is barely wide enough to fit the Myvi. There are two scenarios here. One: The disabled driver risks getting hit by passing traffic while entering or exiting the car, there being no space allowance for wheelchair from the flow of traffic. Two: A disabled passenger will not be able to get out. There is no space between the car and kerb on the front passenger side.

Simply painting a wheelchair logo on the parking space does not make it instantly useful for disabled people. It is apparent here that there is no compliance whatsoever to the code of practice. MPPP should upgrade these parking spaces to the proper dimensions to ensure safety and functionality of users.

I applied for and got the parking sticker from Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya (MPAJ) in December last year. Having this sticker does not make it any more convenient when going out. Accessible parking spaces are far and few in between. When I did come across any, it would mostly probably occupied by vehicles without these stickers or other stickers with the wheelchair logo.

Selangor and Penang have taken the lead in this matter. Both states now need to ensure that there are sufficient accessible parking spaces and impose strict enforcement against people who abuse these facilities. While they are at it, they should also ensure that the areas surrounding these parking spaces are barrier-free. There is really no point in being able to park for free and not being able to move around in a wheelchair in those places.

Nonetheless, I commend the governments of Selangor (my adopted state) and Penang (my home state) for moving forward in issues of accessibility. I hope they will not rest on their laurels. There is a lot more that needs be done to ensure the full inclusion of disabled people in society.


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Special stickers for the disabled in Selangor: The Star – September 12, 2009

January 19th, 2010 - Tuesday

This news is outdated but still relevant and related to the article on free parking for disabled persons in Penang island that I put up yesterday.

Metro
Home > Metro > Central

Saturday September 12, 2009
Special stickers for the disabled in Selangor
By GEETHA KRISHNAN

SPECIAL stickers for the disabled, enabling them to park their vehicles for free in public car parks all over Selangor, can now be obtained from their respective local authorities.

The state government has printed 500 of these stickers for each local authority in the state.

It is issued free to those with various types of disabilities, nerve disorders, those with children with learning disabilities and those with a combination of several disabilities.


Helping the disabled: The special stickers issued to the disabled by the Selangor government.

However, the blind and deaf do not qualify.

Kajang municipal councillor Lee Learn Eng clarified that the disabled could approach only one local authority for the special sticker and its validity would expire at the end of 2010.

“There are two types of stickers – one which can be displayed in vehicles, and the other, a mobile sticker for them to use if they intend to travel in other vehicles.

“The stickers have multi-coloured dots visible only under ultra-violet rays to prevent forgery,” he said at a press conference at Menara MPKj on Friday.

“To register for the stickers, we need a photocopy of the individual’s MyKad, OKU Card issued by the Welfare Department, driving licence and two passport-sized photographs.

“If the sticker is lost or misplaced, we will impose a RM30 fine and suspend the sticker privileges for three months,” he added.

Lee said the free parking facility was applicable only to the disabled and not their family members and friends.

Misuse of the stickers will result in the respective local authority issuing parking summonses.

So far, 10 of the special stickers have been issued by the MPKj. Those intending to apply for the stickers are urged to visit the council’s Community Services Depart-ment on Level 6.

Also present at the press conference were councillors Ong Seng Peng and P. Narayanan.


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Free parking for disabled in Penang: Sun2Surf – January 14, 2010

January 18th, 2010 - Monday

This article made a mistake when it mentioned that free parking for disabled people in Penang is the first of its kind in the country. Selangor implemented this policy some time in September 2009.

NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS :: Local News
Free parking for disabled in Penang
Wong Wooi Kean

GEORGE TOWN (Jan 14, 2010): All registered physically disabled persons in Penang will be allowed free public parking throughout the island in a new ruling, the first of its kind in the country, by the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP).

The MPPP has decided to issue special purple car-stickers, to be renewed after two years, for disabled individuals who can drive and for guardians of those who cannot.

The ruling, which does not cover the deaf and the blind, took effect today.

Councillor Tan Hun Wooi said those who have already registered with the Social Welfare Department qualify to apply immediately. Those who have not registered yet are encouraged to do so to be eligible.

“We encourage the disabled to apply for these special stickers for their convenience,” he said. The first batch of stickers will be issued by the end of this month, he added.

Tan said this at a press conference at the Caring Society Complex here today.

The MPPP has been receiving calls to increase the number of bays for the disabled, and decided to tackle the problem by going one step further in giving out stickers for free public parking throughout the island.

Of the 11,000-odd parking bays under the MPPP, only 15 are currently reserved for the disabled.

In the meantime, the MPPP will still go ahead with plans to increase the number of disabled bays, so as to give the disabled greater convenience in finding available parking.

Tan also warned the general public not to park their vehicles in places reserved for the disabled.

Society of Disabled Persons Penang president, Teh Lay Kuan, said she was grateful to the local authorities for initiating the new purple-sticker ruling.

According to the Welfare department, there were 15,611 registered disabled people in the state.

“We often find people who are inconsiderate when they park at parking lots meant for the disabled, causing us inconvenience,” she added.

Applications for the stickers can be made at the MPPP’s office on the 15th floor of Komtar here. For details, call 04-2592130.


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