Asia-Pacific Mar 17, 2012
SHAH ALAM: Members from four associations for people with disabilities are calling on Selangor to ensure people with disabilities are represented in all 12 local governments to ensure their needs are looked after.
The groups want at least one councilor with disabilities to be appointed to sit on Infrastructure Technical committees and One Stop Centers at each local authority.
“On the issue of building accessible for people with disabilities, it’s not enough to engage disability groups for advice. We want our own to sit on the committees,” said Independent Living and Training Center (ILTC) president Francis Siva.
He said persons with disabilities could better represent the disability community as councillors by planning and approving projects that give better access for people with mobility disabilities.
Chong Tuck Meng, 50, said only Councillors with disabilities understood the need to design and construct public buildings from scratch to cater to people with disabilities.
Chong, who leads a spinal cord injury rehabilitation group in Kuala Lumpur, said the Federal and state governments could not ignore the rights of people with disabilities.
“We want people with disabilities to be able to access public areas such as shopping malls, tourist attractions and even parks and forest reserves,” he said, during a press conference calling for the reinstatement of Petaling Jaya (MBPJ) councillor Anthony Thanasayan.
His status is in limbo after his extension was put on hold.
Last week, MBPJ called off the swearing-in ceremony at the eleventh hour citing technical grounds for the postponement.
Meanwhile, former Selayang municipal councillor (MPS) Rina Kaur, 50, said all local governments in the state should adopt a move to have at least one disabled person serving as a Councillor.
Non-governmental organization leader served Selayang from 2009 to 2011 but did not get her term extended after that.
“I could have done more to get parts of Selayang disabled-friendly with the right kind of access ramps installed at public areas,” she said.
Friends of Kota Damansara (FOKD) co-chairman Jeffrey Phang concurs that Councillors with disabilities should have their terms extended, especially if their performance has been “good”.
“Don’t undermine the momentum by replacing Councillors with disabilities if they are performing.”
He said a local recreational attraction here at Kota Damansara Community Forest was more accessible for people with disabilities and accessible due to the efforts of disability community working with MBPJ on the matter.
Phang cited Anthony for making the recreational park more accessible to travellers with disabilities and lauded the councillor’s efforts.
He agreed with the others that the state should keep Anthony’s appointment as MBPJ councillor.
They later handed over a memorandum to Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s office as well as state executive councillor for local government, Ronnie Liu.