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

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.

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.

Free parking in the city for the disabled: The Star – January 16, 2010

Home > Metro > North

Saturday January 16, 2010
Free parking in the city for the disabled

GOOD news for the disabled, the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) is giving them free parking in the city.

This is the first time the state government is offering such a privilege – making it the second state in the country to implement the facilities.

For the disabled: One of the reserved parking lots in the city.

The move was an effort by the council to be create a caring and disabled friendly society.

MPPP financial management subcommittee alternate chairman Tan Hun Wooi said special passes would be issued to disabled folk except for those who were blind and deaf.

He said the application for the special pass, valid for a year, was now available at the MPPP office.

To obtain the free pass, applicants have to produce photostat copies of their MyKad, disabled persons’(OKU) card, two passport-sized photographs, motor vehicle registration card, driving licence and a letter verifying the caretaker.

Registration can be done at Komtar, 15th floor. For further details, call 04-2592130.

He also said the council would not hesitate to issue summonses for vehicles that were parked at lots reserved for the disabled.

Currently, there are 15 such lots in the inner city and the council will be working with organisations for the disabled to come up more such parking lots elsewhere in the city.

Society of the Orthopaedically Handicapped Malaysia (POCAM) president Assoc Prof Dr Tiun Ling Ta said the move was noble.

However, he said, there was a need for better enforcement to prevent parking lots designated for the disabled from being used by unscrupulous drivers.

Asia Community Service Centre (ACS) executive director Khor Ai-Na described the move as “good and timely”.

She said the special passes for the disabled would also reduce the hassle the handicapped drivers face getting to the parking meter to insert their coins.

Society of The Disabled Persons Penang president Teh Lay Kuan lauded the move and urged the public not to park at reserved parking lots for the disabled.

“The reserved lots are there for a reason and I hope the public will be more considerate,” she said.

Plight of the disabled: The Star, Metro North – February 14, 2009

Saturday February 14, 2009
Plight of the disabled

TOILETS for the disabled are often too small or are locked.

These are some of the problems faced by the disabled at some places in Penang, said Society of Disabled Persons (Penang) former president Tan Kuan Aw.

Tan, who is wheelchair-bound, said there were also toilets for the disabled which had been turned into storerooms because the managements of buildings where these toilets are located think not many people use them.

He said there were specifications that must be complied with when facilities for the disabled are provided such as handrails for ramps.

But after studying the situation in Penang for a decade, Tan did not think the local authorities were serious when it came to ensuring that these specfications were adhered to.

“The setting up of a barrier-free facility like a toilet for people with disabilities just for the sake of it is a misunderstood concept. There are Sirim standards and requirements that need to be followed,” he said in an interview.

A check by The Star in public places around Penang proved Tan’s descriptions of several public toilets accurate.

One such toilet in a building along the Jelutong Expressway was so small that a disabled person in a wheelchair would find great difficulty to close the toilet door from the inside.

Tight space: A woman in wheelchair demonstrating how difficult it is to use the cramped toilet for disabled persons.

The reason for this, apart from the size of the toilet, is that the toilet door opens the wrong way. It opens inward, instead of outward or sliding.

Another toilet for the disabled persons in a shopping mall is occasionally locked and those who want to use the facility must find the cleaner who has the key, as instructed by a sign stuck to the door.

As for ramps, Tan said some were built without handrails. But in the case of the ramp at the Taman Sri Pinang flats on River Road, it was crossbars that has become a barrier for the disabled.

Stumbling block: A ramp with handrails is provided at Taman Sri Pinang but disabled persons, especially those in wheelchairs, cannot proceed further with the locked crossbars blocking the building’s entrance.

Although the ramp has handrails, it is not barrier-free as there are crossbars at the bottom to prevent motorcyclists from using the ramp.

Women’s Centre for Change (WCC) committee member Lim Kah Cheng, who is an ardent activist for people with special needs, said the bars could also be a hindrance during emergencies like fires.

She said ramps could be designed in a way that motorcyclists could not misuse them, adding that the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) had agreed to look into the matter.

“Instead of a ramp, a winding path that motorcyclists will find difficult to manoeuvre their vehicles on can be considered. The council already has the design which is not costly to follow,” said Lim, who is also an MPPP councillor.

Her other complaints include the putting up of signboards, road signs, advertisement boards and other obstructing objects in the middle of pavements or walkways; and high pavements.

Lim said the trick would be to get things right the first time – constructing buildings and providing public facilities that were universal.

“If you build a ramp, build one that is for everybody. What is good for the disabled is good for everyone else,” she added.

Danger lurks: This bus stop at Jalan Dr Lim Chwee Leong is unsafe for disabled persons, especially for the visually impaired and those in wheelchairs.

MPPP president Datuk Zainal Rahim Seman, when contacted, said the council would take serious note of the problems faced by the disabled with the existing facilites.

“Our officers will conduct checks on these facilities to see if they comply with the required standards. If developers do not comply with building requirements, we will not grant them the CFs,” he added.