KUALA LUMPUR: Agencies under the Transport Ministry, including KTM Bhd, have been directed to come out with more facilities to make it easier for the disabled who use public transport.
Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat said yesterday there was still room for improvement in the facilities provided for the physically-challenged.
“We are aware that a lot of public transport facilities do not take their needs into consideration.
“At the fourth quarter of last year, I instructed several agencies under my ministry to take into account the needs of these individuals,” he told reporters after opening the KKAJ Vocational Centre for the Disabled in Bandar Baru Ampang here yesterday.
Ong, who is the patron of the centre, said he had instructed the agencies to speed up the process.
“I wish to see the public transport system, whether it is under the purview of my ministry or other ministries, to take this matter seriously.
“I know it is not easy and there are a lot of obstacles but we must endeavour to overcome the challenges,” he said.
Ong said he had come across some cases where physically-challenged individuals struggled to get onto public transport.
“I do not think it is fair.”
Improving public transport sounds good and it is a worthy thing to do. However, the experience cannot just stop at public transport – the infrastructure of the entire community must be revamped to make the whole community accessible and universal in design.
The lifts at KTM Subang Jaya station (mentioned here earlier) are an excellent example.
Sure, this KTM station has joined the (short) list of accessible stations but there isn’t that much to cheer about. Once the wheelchair user gets out of the station, they cannot make use of the sidewalks (uneven, no kerb cuts) or the road (potholes). They cannot access the nearby Carrefour in SS16 (no ramps and kerb cuts). They can access Subang Parade which does have a ramp but there are no kerb cuts along Jalan SS16/1. They certainly cannot access the buses serving the KTM station and could not get to the only accessible bus nearby (which only goes to KL anyways).
Id like to commend Minister of Transport Ong Tee Keat for at least acknowledging the problem but it isnt just for his ministry to take action.
The point is simple. We need universal communities, not ‘disabled-friendly’ public transport