KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 — Senator Datuk Ras Adiba Radzi has called on the Transport Ministry to introduce an inclusive mobility action plan to improve the facilities for persons with disabilities (PwD) at public transport areas including bus stations and stops, airports as well as train stations.
In a statement in conjunction with International Wheelchair Day today, she said the introduction of legislation in this field requires a fresh look at the existing guidelines, whether they are up-to-date, consistent as well as comprehensive and whether there are overlaps and omissions.
“In the recently tabled Budget 2023, the government stated that wheelchair ramp facilities will be built at seven airports in Sabah and Sarawak for the benefit of thousands of wheelchair users who fly with MASwings. I hope these efforts can also be implemented in other airports nationwide and made available for all airlines,” Ras Adiba said.
The OKU Sentral president said solutions also should be put in place to address issues concerning accessibility infrastructure in existing buildings and in the pedestrian environment.
Access audits can provide detailed analyses of potential and actual problems and can be made based on plans for new buildings as well as by surveying existing ones.
“Where access audits are made, they must take into account the full range of requirements of the disabled, including those with sensory and cognitive impairments. Audits should be carried out by recognised specialist auditors or consultants.
“Improvements to accessibility in existing buildings may be made most economically as part of regular repair, maintenance, refurbishment, and redecoration,” she said.
Much more is needed to overcome accessibility issues in the workplace such as creating or reserving parking spaces near the entrance/exits of the building; having stairs-free access; braille on doors and all signages that are placed within reach as well as accessible toilets.
Meanwhile, Ras Adiba said with a growing population of PWDs in the country, it is high time for Malaysia to have an Anti-Discrimination Act for PWDs like the United Kingdom’s Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) and the Americans with Disability Act 1990 (ADA).
Disability discrimination occurs when a person with disability is treated less favourably than a person without the disability in the same or similar circumstances, she said.
Based on statistics by the Department of Welfare Malaysia, until December 31, 2022 a total of 218,116 PWDs with physical disability have been registered.