When Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya (MPAJ) came to remove the road hump on 16th January, I was away at Bandar Baru Sentul for the Regional Asia Pacific Training of Trainers on Disability Equality Training workshop. Otherwise, I would have loved to see it being removed. Jamali Othman, the MPAJ engineer was on site to oversee the demolition work together with Gary Lim, Head of Legal Bureau for MCA Pandan Division, and his assistant Winnie.
MPAJ officers using the backhoe to scrape away the road hump.
Image courtesy of Gary Lim.
Gary and Winnie had been pursuing the matter with MPAJ on our behalf after Dorothy Cheong, the ahli majlis for our zone, did little to help us resolve the issue. As part of our campaign, we had sought legal advice as another option which we are glad we did not have to resort to. With help from friends we got the story published in Berita Harian and The Star. At the same time, as residents whose houses faced the hump, we sent a complaint to the Yang DiPertua MPAJ via email, outlining our objections on 28th October 2012. Jamali came to see us on 8th November 2012 to discuss a solution to the matter.
Another shot of the removal of the hump by MPAJ.
Image courtesy of Gary Lim.
We initally approached Jenice Lee, the ADUN for Teratai, after the hump was built. She had asked Dorothy to look into the matter. Dorothy kept insisting that the hump was built at the request of a majority of ten residents along the road. She also said “I believe people of your situation would more than welcome it because it will practically slow down vehicles from speeding and thus safety is the priority in the mind of these residents in your neighbourhood.”
The neighbours with Jamali Othman (3rd from left), Winnie (4th from left) and Gary Lim(right).
Image courtesy of Gary Lim.
My lengthy explanation to her and Jenice that the hump is a barrier to my mobility and a hazard to my safety fell on deaf ears. Jenice then suggested a meeting with the other residents to sort this out. We unanimously objected because when the hump was built outside our houses, we were never consulted first. Jenice even mentioned that “From the picture I received, the hump is built in between your house and your neighbour.” It was clear how little she understood what our complaints were all about.
In our letter to the Yang DiPertua, we pointed out that other residents were invited to sign a petition for the road hump twelve days after it was built, contrary to what Dorothy told me in her second email that MPAJ had received ten requests to install the road hump from residents in July 2012. Up till today, I still cannot understand why there was a need to get residents to sign the petition when a request by ten residents had already been submitted and approved by MPAJ earlier.
Dorothy was reported in The Star to have said, “We can’t entertain one person’s complaint as we want to help everyone.” Did she mean to say that my safety concerns are irrelevant? As a disabled person, I do not have the right to object to facilities that will endanger me, especially when it is right outside my house? She also obviously left out the fact that my neighbour had gone to her office to make a complaint and sought her assistance on this matter as well.
Anyway, I am glad this is all over now. Many people had a hand in helping us resolve this matter in one way or another. Thanks to Gary Lim and Winnie for their relentless pursuit to have the hump removed; Pierce Wong who connected me to Datuk Wong Sai Wan to get the news published in The Star; Paul Choo who came out with the caricature to highlight the issue; Edmund Bon, Khor Boon How and team for the legal advice; and to everyone who has supported us. All your effort came to fruition. Thank you.
Tags: ADUN Teratai, disabled people Malaysia, Dorothy Cheong, Edmund Bon, Gary Lim, Jamali b Othman, Jenice Lee, Khor Boon How, Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya, MCA Pandan Division Head of Legal Bureau, MPAJ, Pierce Wong, road hump, wheelchair user Malaysia, Wong Sai Wan, Yang Dipertua Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya
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
Peter Tan being carried up two steps at the Dewan MPAJ Pandan Indah.
MPAJ organised a briefing on the Local Draft Plan for residents of the Teratai state constituency. It was held at the Dewan MPAJ at Pandan Indah. This local draft plan was for the development of the Ampang Jaya municipality for the next ten years. ADUN for Teratai Jenice Lee had informed me about this briefing. My main interest in this matter is to see if accessible facilities are included in the draft.
MPAJ Town Planner Awang Mustapha speaking on the Local Draft Plan.
The first inkling that it was not going to be plain sailing was when I discovered that the Dewan MPAJ did not have an access ramp into the hall. There were only steps and I had to be carried up together with my wheelchair. MPAJ will get to hear from me real soon regarding this matter. There is no reason whatsoever not to provide access in compliance with the Uniform Building By Law 34 when MPAJ itself is the authority enforcing this on all public buildings.
ADUN for Teratai Jenice Lee and MPAJ Councillors of the Teratai state constituency at the briefing.
When the forum was opened to the floor after the briefing by MPAJ Town Planner Awang Mustapha, I asked if the local draft plan includes provision of accessible facilities. It came as a shock to me that there were none according to Awang although such facilities were included in the guidelines for the draft. He promised to take this matter into account.
ADUN for Teratai Jenice Lee asking for clarification on some points at the Local Draft Plan briefing
I was even more displeased when Councillor Chan Su San informed the floor that she did emphasise that accessible facilities should be included in the local draft plan during council meetings on the matter. I thought that MPAJ have understood that the municipality barely have accessible facilities and that after the seminar and dialogue with disabled people and the announcement by the Yang Di Pertua at the disability awareness training, such issues whould have been given more attention. Unfortunately, I was mistaken. This oversight is prevalent in local governments all over Malaysia. It is all talk without substance.
Peter Tan asking about the accessible facilities in the Local Draft Plan.
It is very disappointing that a plan as important as this, even though at the draft stages, excludes the needs of disabled people, especially after all the advocacy activities we have initiated with MPAJ. I hope there will be more ADUNs like Jenice Lee and councillors in MPAJ like Chan Su Sann who understood the importance of such facilities and speak out on behalf of disabled people who do not have a representation in the MPAJ.
Tags: ADUN Teratai, Awang Mustapha, Chan Su Sann, disabled people Malaysia, DUN Teratai, Jenice Lee, Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya, MPAJ Local Draft Plan, Yang Dipertua Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya