since i have a couple of extra minutes to spare, i thought i should post up an article that caught my attention some weeks ago.
WHEEL POWER WITH ANTHONY THANASAYAN
Something to look forward to for the disabled.
Now there is more good news. This time from Subang Jaya.
It was reported last week that handicapped residents in the area who drive are encouraged to apply for free parking stickers from the local council.
The stickers will, according to Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh, enable the disabled to park their cars at public parking lots that are managed by the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ).
Parking, according to the report, will be free for the handicapped to save them the inconvenience of paying at the parking meters. Here is another shining example of a local council that is willing to go the extra mile in understanding our problems.
We, as handicapped Malaysians, only ask for a chance to live like other non-disabled citizens. It is not often that we come across local councils that show such interest in helping the disabled.
Few of us can forget the shocking incident in 2006 when a woman driver in a wheelchair in Klang was slapped with a warrant of arrest for not settling her parking dues. She couldn’t because the parking metres were simply too high for her reach.
That episode thankfully ended on a positive note – the warrant was rescinded.
The Majlis Perbandaran Klang also showed their sincerity over the error. They went on to introduce scores of disabled-friendly car parks in their town. These are also available free to disabled drivers. The waivers should be given in view of the fact that our infrastructure had not included the needs of the disabled community in the original blueprint. This is why many disabled Malaysians are unable to study in normal schools, find jobs and live a normal life.
So offering free services like these can be considered as society’s “payback time” for the handicapped whom we have disabled by our unwitting neglect.
And one day when full, equal participation by the disabled is finally realised, they will be able to pay for the services themselves.
That is, when all unjust barriers are done away with and the disabled enjoy equal job opportunities, and are in a financial position to take care of themselves.
Until then, it would have to be the local council’s responsibility to look into the needs of its disabled citizens.
All private outfits and shopping complexes should also use this understanding to provide free parking for the disabled as part of their corporate social responsibility.
This would be in line with steps taken by the Federal Government to offer free medical treatment and free passports, to name a few, for the handicapped.
Back to the MBSJ, there are several issues that need to be looked into to make the disabled car parking project a success. The parking stickers need to include caregivers and volunteers who transport the handicapped and not just disabled drivers alone.
Special designated lots for the handicapped is a must. It is not practical to expect the disabled to park in available lots because there really won’t be any.
And let us not expect other drivers to give up their parking lots for the less fortunate. It will take a lot more education in the future before we can expect our denizens to give way to the less able among us.
Meanwhile, as for the disabled woman who was slapped with a summons, well, she is Gurdip aka Rina Kaur who is now councillor for Majlis Perbandaran Selayang.
The last I heard was that she is working hard to improve facilities for the disabled in her area.
Indeed, good and great things are happening for the disabled community.
definitely a welcoming move!
it’ll be an added bonus if pavements and walkways are disabled-friendly too.