The second day of the training for the Return To Work Section staff of PERKESO entailed actual site audit. Participants were divided into five groups accompanied by a facilitator each. I was assigned to Group 4 that was to audit Menara PERKESO, the organisation’s headquarters at Jalan Ampang. Incidentally, several participants of the group worked there, which made the exercise easier as they were familiar with the premises.
Menara PERKESO at Jalan Ampang – Headquarters of the Social Security Organisation Malaysia
Making photographic record for access audit of an accessible parking at Menara PERKESO.
Members of the group that I facilitated displayed great enthusiasm and initiative during the site audit. Although time allocated for this practice was limited, they tried to cover as much ground as possible. If only the officers of local governments showed half as much spirit in ensuring that the built environment is accessible, the infrastructure would not be in the situation it is now where disabled people face great difficulties with barriers all over the place.
Measuring public telephone and toilet seat height at Menara PERKESO.
Group presentation on findings and recommendations at Audit Access Training for PERKESO’s Return To Work Section.
Participants were required to make a presentation of their findings and make recommendations according to the Malaysian Standard MS 1184: Code of Practice on Access for Disabled Persons to Public Buildings. Generally, all of them have a good grasp of various barriers in the buildings that they audited. In fact, I was surprised at how detailed their findings were. What they need now is more practice in producing an audit report with precise recommendations that is useful to building owners and contractors rectifying the problems. In summing it up, I would say the participants did well and PERKESO is doing the right things where disability issues are concerned.
Group photo at conclusion of Audit Access Training for PERKESO’s Return To Work Section.
The Return to Work Department of PERKESO (Social Security Organisation Malaysia) is running a 2-day Access Audit Training for 36 case managers and placement officers starting today. Dr. Naziaty Yaacob is the chief facilitator, assisted by four co-facilitators, for this workshop held at the Kuala Lumpur PERKESO office.
Simulation exercise of person with low vision outside the Kuala Lumpur Perkeso Office.
The purpose of this workshop is to familiarise participants with barriers in the built-environment, conduct access audits and furnish recommendations for workplaces of disabled members of the organisation under the Return to Work Programme.
We will be conducting access audits of five buildings and their surroundings tomorrow morning, namely the Intercontinental Hotel, Boulevard Hotel, Shangri-La Hotel, Wisma PERKESO at Jalan Tun Razak and Menara PERKESO Jalan Ampang which is the headquarters of the organisation. I will be facilitating the team auditing Menara PERKESO headed by Tuan Roshaimi bin Mat Rosely, Manager of Return to Work Section.
The pavement upgrade works were completed yesterday. Fellow accessibility advocate Robert Wang who also resides at Pandan Perdana went to check and discovered that the ramps were too steep. This was despite assurances from Encik Zahari of Jabatan Kejuruteraan Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya (MPAJ) that the ramps would be built according to the code of practice which is the Malaysian Standard MS 1184 and MS 1331. Robert made an appointment to meet Encik Zahari this morning to discuss about rectifying the mistakes.
At the meeting we conducted a brief audit of the ramps and pavement. Encik Zahari concurred that the ramps were not properly done. The three ramps that we checked all had gradients of 1:6 when it should have been the ratio of 1:15. It is an impossibility for a wheelchair to go up a gradient of 1:6 without tipping backwards. We discovered that the width of the pavements was only 900mm when the code of practice recommended 1200mm. The pavement connecting to both ends of the bus stop were not flushed. There was difference of height of 1 inch. This uneven height is a barrier to wheelchair users. Moreover, non-disabled people who are not aware of the small steps may trip over them and injure themselves. Encik Zahari assured us that he will get the contractor to rectify the mistakes.
What I cannot comprehend is the fact that Malaysia has the capability to build the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, SMART Tunnel and the award winning Kuala Lumpur International Airport but we cannot even build a decent pavement that is safe and usable by everyone. This is also most disappointing especially when MPAJ had given their commitment to improve accessibility in the Ampang Jaya municipality by organising the Seminar dan Sesi Dialog Bersama OKU, Agensi Kerajaan dan Pihak Swasta (Seminar and Dialogue Session with Disabled People, Government Agencies and the Private Sector) and Disability Awareness Training. What more will it take to ensure that the accessibility needs of disabled people are not forgotten? As it is, our needs are often ignored and disregarded unless we make the effort to remind the government of our existence.
Poorly built ramp at Pandan Perdana.
Close-up of the ramp – too steep for wheelchair user to ascend unassisted.
Arrows pointing to the uneven levels between the bus stop and pavement.
A closer view of the uneven level between the bus stop and pavement.
The ramp at the other end of the pavement.
Yet another steep ramp at the other side of the road.