Wheelchair users face difficulties with public transport in Malaysia
Asia-Pacific, September 1 2016
PETALING JAYA: S Jeyaraj, a wheelchair user, speaks about the difficulties of taking the train from point A to point B and calls for guides at KTM stations.
S Jeyaraj, author of the guidebook “Guidance For Wheelchair Bound” in lamenting this sorry state of affairs, has urged non-governmental organisations dealing with persons with disabilities and ministers to “come down to the ground and experience it for themselves”.
“Instead of sitting at a round table discussing, they should go to the ground and see what it’s like.”
Speaking to FMT, Jeyaraj cried foul over the lack of thought put into public transportation planning, especially of KTM stations, after having a difficult experience while trying to take a KTM train from Rawang to Jalan Templer.
He said it was almost as if the disabled were not taken into consideration when the blueprints for these stations were drawn.
“It is extremely dangerous. There is a universal standard for the disabled, but they definitely do not adhere to it here. I don’t know who approved it.
“It is not safe for a person with a disability to go alone. Even with a caretaker, I am not sure the caretaker will know what to do,” he said.
Jeyaraj said the lack of information about the availability of facilities for persons with disabilities was a major issue at KTM stations.
“There is no information about which platform is accessible. There is no staff or station master to help us either.”
He urged KTM to hire staff to work as guides for the disabled at stations, adding the wheelchair users and people who are blind needed guides to utilise the trains.
“They should have staff or guides inside and outside the train. They can approach us and take us into the trains, they can tell us where to go… There have to be a few staff on every platform or every train,” said Jeyaraj.
This is not the first time someone from the disabled community has brought up such issues.
In June this year, Association of Women with Disabilities President Senator Bathmavathi Krishnan said there was an urgent need for awareness and greater understanding of people with disabilities to provide equal opportunities and create an inclusive society.
She suggested that a standardised module be drawn up to train officers within local authorities to become access auditors.
Access auditors inspect whether facilities for a barrier-free environment in and around public buildings have been done according to specifications.
“However, training access auditors alone is insufficient because there is no one body, agency or mechanism coordinating the implementation of building by-laws for areas such as walkways,” she had said.