New guidelines to help persons with disabilities in Malaysia
Asia-Pacific, Misc., July 24 2017
The Road Transport Department (JPJ) will come up with new guidelines to address issues that persons with disabilities face in obtaining a driving licence.
Department director-general Datuk Seri Nadzri Siron said he was concerned about these problems which were highlighted in StarMetro on June 19.
“Our department engages with persons with disabilities over issues pertaining to transportation. We will hold a meeting with representatives of the disabled community soon and come up with guidelines,” Nadzri said when contacted.
It was earlier reported that only one driving school in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, had experienced instructors to teach persons with disabilities how to drive.
Most driving schools in the country lack accessible facilities and the location for theory examinations is usually not wheelchair-friendly either.
Unlike the able-bodied, persons with disabilities are required to bring their own vehicles for lessons and during the test.
This adds to their financial burden as many cannot afford to modify their vehicles or pay for driving lessons.
Fazlan Ismail, 37, suffered spinal injury in an accident and is wheelchair user. He wants to get a driving licence in order to be less dependent on his family. But he cannot afford to modify his motorcycle and is put off by the tedious process of getting a licence.
“I would need to modify my vehicle and pay for driving lessons,” said the father of two.
Fazlan works at a training centre for the disabled in Bangi and relies on his wife for transport.
“It would be great if we could get some form of assistance to make driving lessons more affordable,” he said.
He had gone to a driving school in Wangsa Maju but was discouraged by all the requirements.
He said many disabled people sometimes drove modified cars belonging to their friends although they did not have a licence. StarMetro’s report on June 19.
Noor Janah Ahmad, 54, was a chicken seller who had her right leg amputated due to an infection in 2015.
The single mother of one said she could afford to modify her car and pay for driving lessons.
“I wish I could drive again so that I can earn a living,” said Noor Janah, who lives in Sungai Petani, Kedah and depends on her relatives for financial support as she currently has no source of income.
Ahmad Daniel Sharani, 41, was left paralysed from waist down after an accident at the age of 18.
He said most driving schools did not want their instructors to take the risk and would rather not teach persons with disabilities.
“The instructors worry as they cannot control the brakes for modified cars used by persons with disabilities.
“In the case of vehicles used by the able-bodied, instructors can control the brakes from the front passenger’s side,” he said.
Ahmad Daniel said using public transport, especially taxis, to travel was also challenging.
“Some of the ride-hailing app drivers cancel the booking when they see that the passenger is disabled and in a wheelchair.
“I rely on my regular taxi drivers and book their service in advance,” said Ahmad, who works for OKU Sentral, a non-governmental organisation.
Luke Chua, 33, who is paralysed waist down, is one of the few with a driving licence.
“The process was expensive as the total cost of the car modification and lessons was about RM1,800,” said Chua, who plays wheelchair basketball.