Thursday, July 29, 2010


Tarikh : 28 Julai 2010

Kepada : YBhg Datuk Hj Salleh Bin Yusup
Ketua Pengarah DBKL

'Disabled-unfriendly' KL City Hall comes under fire

Thu, 29 Jul 2010 15:00

By Patrick Lee

KUALA LUMPUR: Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) came under heavy criticism today for its lackadaisical attitude towards providing better access for disabled persons in the city.

Damai Disabled Persons Association of Selangor and Federal Territory president V.Murugeswaran said a recent meeting with DBKL had proved futile.

“They (DBKL) have set up a Disabled Persons Unit (DPU). The officers, however, are all able-bodied people.“At the meeting, they opposed our list of demands which included our request for ramps and modification to roadside curbs.

“They classified our list of demands as ‘short-term projects’ and had a lot of reasons against it,” said Murugeswaran But what shocked wheelchair-bound V.Murugeswaran most was when they asked him to “understand the situation”.“They want me to understand that it is not easy to build a ramp for disabled people!They want us to compromise and wait... but for how long?”

Murugeswaran said it was obvious that the DPU was set up because of “top-level pressure and the unit was not really bothered”.“After several disappointing responses to our letters, we got fed up with DBKL and turned up to see (Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister) Raja Nong Chik Zainal Abidin. “He (minister) instructed the DBKL officials to speak with me directly,” he said, adding that this was how DPU could have been set up.FMT caught up with V.Murugeswaran, who together

with representatives from Maybank, were at DBKL yesterday evening to hand over a memorandum to DBKL director-general Salleh Yusuf.The memorandum wants DBKL to expedite the installation of disabled friendly facilities.Quest for facilities Murugeswaran's quest to make Kuala Lumpur more disabled-friendly began in 2008 when he found that one of Damai's members had been taken advantage of.

The member, suffering from a near-total paralysis, had lost RM5,000 after being duped by a “friend”.The money was lost when the member allowed his “friend” to use his ATM card on his behalf.Murugewaran believed that the situation might have been averted if disabled individuals had proper bank access.“We need to be present at the banks to get our pensions and allowances. But most banks are not disabled-friendly.”“The only bank which was willing to listen to our grouses was Maybank,” he said.He said Maybank then embarked on a RM16-million nationwide project to make its branches more disabled-friendly in keeping with its corporate social responsibilities.

Murugeswaran added that some Maybank branches built disabled ramps after getting permission from City Hall.But Murugesan, however, maintained that ramps and modifications to road curbs were the responsibility of DBKL and should not be fobbed off onto the private sector.