Selangor adopts progressive public policies on disability facilities

photo by star-one

Ramps and tactile pavements, washrooms, ATM kiosks and public transport: these are just some facilities that the Selangor local government commitee is looking to improve, said state exco member, Ronnie Liu today when he announced the setting up of a state committee on disability issues.

Towards this end, Liu said the committee will facilitate the formation of a technical unit in every local council of Selangor by the year’s end.

Seven NGOs, including the Independent Learning and Training Centre, Petpositive, and the Malaysia Malay Disabled Association have been invited to join the committee to spearhead the changes.

“As the disabled are the ones who understand their community best, they can provide input to the state,” Liu said.

The committee is looking to formulate policies which include incentives for new buildings that are pro-disabled, and penalties for errant occupation of disabled facilities.

A forum to discuss the needs of the disabled, their welfare and job opportunities, will also be held in June.

Petpositive president and MBPJ councillor, Anthony Thanasayan, who was at the press conference, applauded the move as “significant and meaningful”.

He said MBPJ’s adoption of disabled-friendly policies and their implementation in genuinely useful public facilities since 2000 can be an example to other councils.

“The public will become aware of the complexity of disabled needs. For instance, those who are paralysed from neck-below need someone to pull their wheelchair, but not those who only have paralysed legs,” he added.

He said the setting-up of such a committee will help to convince more local councils to observe the Persons With Disabilities Act.

“Currently many local councils just choose to ignore the Act because there are n0 sanctions for doing so,” he added.

Liu asked for Selangor to emulate Sweden as barrier-free city.

“Sweden, 20 years ago, made public buses accessible to disabled; there is no reason for Selangor to say we cannot do it today,” he averred.