Action group set up to improve accessibility for persons with disabilities

Asia-Pacific, April 14 2015

MALAYSIA: Plans are under way to establish a Penang Accessibility Action Group (PAAG) to monitor and improve public access for older people and persons with disabilities.

Pulau Tikus assemblyman Yap Soo Huey said most buildings in Malaysia were not user-friendly and were difficult to access by older people and persons with disabilities.

“Many do not understand the difficulties faced by those who depend on wheelchairs for mobility or an elderly who has trouble walking.

“Therefore, they do not take into consideration the need to design proper pedestrian walkways.

“Many people also do not understand how person with a disability  uses accessible toilets which is why they are wrongly built,” she said.

Yap said PAAG would work with agencies such as the Public Works Department, Land Public Transport Commission and local authorities to improve public access for older people and persons with disabilities.

“PAAG’s aim is to create Universal Access — an environment that can be widely used by all individuals without any need for adaptation or specialized design.

“The use of ramps is not only helpful to disabled persons with wheelchairs but also to parents pushing their babies in prams, travellers carrying luggage as well as workers pushing trolleys,” she said.

Yap, who is also Universal Accessibility sub-committee chairman, said PAAG would monitor the state government’s efforts to improve accessibility in Penang.

“PAAG will conduct periodic audits of public places as well as cooperate with the authorities to improve infrastructure. Creating public awareness about accessibility is also part of PAAG’s objectives.”

Those who have experience with disabled persons or are caring for them can join the group.

She urged those with expertise in legal matters, architecture, engineering, field development, construction and building management as well as family members with elderly and disabled members to join the group.

Source: The Star

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