Saturday, October 2, 2010

Trying time for the disabled

Saturday October 2, 2010 By JAYAGANDI JAYARAJ

MEMBERS of the Damai Disabled Persons Association are finding it difficult to go the BSN branch in Persiaran Mergastua, Seri Kepong Baru, because there is no ramp for those on wheelchairs.

The disabled go to the bank to collect their monthly disabled persons allowance.
S. Krishnan, 36, said the lack of a ramp made it difficult for some disabled people to be independent because they had to depend on customers who were walking in or out of the bank to get assistance.

On the streets: A bank employee attending to (from left) Krishnan, Mehboob Sulaiman and Murugeswaran outside the bank.

Photo by P. NATHAN

“The bank employees then come to us and the transaction is made outside the bank. It can be dangerous because there is a risk that we could become victims of snatch thieves,” he told reporters at the bank yesterday.

He added that the narrow one-way street also made it hard for both the disabled and other road users.Krishnan said there were at least 50 disabled people in the area from various disabled persons’ associations.

The association president, V. Murugeswaran, said every building should provide disabled-friendly facilities under the Uniform Building By Law.
He added that the disabled also dealt with banks and they should also be treated equally with facilities needed by them.

“We had the same problem with another bank before, but it responded well to our pleas and made it possible for us to access its building. We hope the same can be done here,” he said.

Disabled Unfriendly BSN branch
Seri Kepong Baru


Friday, October 1, 2010

It’s not a walk in the park to get your welfare aid


Fri, 01 Oct 2010 16:14

By Patrick Lee
KEPONG: Kuala Lumpur is not a city known for being friendly to the disabled, and this is especially evident in Kepong Baru.

More than 100 disabled persons live in the area, and they each receive RM300 a month from the Social Welfare Department. Like other welfare beneficiaries in Kuala Lumpur, they have to collect the money from Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) by the 20th day of the month.

The trouble is that access to the bank’s Kepong Baru branch is often a challenge to the wheelchair-bound and other disabled persons.The bank is located on the heavily congested Persiaran Margastua, and the nearest ramp is five metres away from its entrance.

It leads not directly to the bank, but into the greasy entrance of a motorcycle workshop. Motorcycles waiting for repairs would often block the already bumpy path.A large sheet blocks the bank from the rest of the walkway, leaving the disabled to wait by the steps leading to the bank.
Disabled businessman David Chrican told FMT these steps were too high and it would be nearly impossible for him to climb them without help.
It can be frustrating to wait around there, with cars and motorcycles honking everywhere and the sight of filthy liquid wastes from a hawkers’ centre flowing into a smelly drain nearby."Can you imagine if it rains?" asked V Murugesan, president of the Damai Disabled Persons Association of Selangor and Wilayah Persekutuan.He said many BSN branches were in similar shape.

Officers usually helpfulThere was a small group of disabled persons waiting outside the bank today. An officer got out of the bank to collect their passbooks and MyKads.Murugesan said this too was a concern for the disabled. "Somebody can just snatch our MyKads and run away."Depending on how busy the bank was, he said, the disabled sometimes had to wait for quite a while to receive their money as well get back their passbooks and MyKads.
A Rajoo, a committee member of the Damai association, told FMT that BSN officers were usually quite helpful. "If we are inside, the officers will give us first priority," he said."But if they're busy inside, with a lot of customers, then they cannot. Sometimes we have to tell bank customers to go in and tell the bank officers that we're outside."However, he said, the public tended to ignore people like him.Other disabled persons said they sometimes had to wait up to 30 minutes before any bank officer would notice them.Some just give up and go home.Why still no ramp?

Murugesan also complained about the time limit for collection of the welfare dues. "If we don't collect after 20 days, then we have to go through a difficult process at the welfare office," he said.According to the Uniformed Building By-Laws (UBBL), banks are required to build ramps for the disabled."They know that the disabled come here every month," Murugesan said."As a government-linked bank, BSN should be an example and provide facilities."Why are the disabled people treated like this after 53 years of independence? Why is this still happening?"The manager of BSN’s Kepong Baru branch was not available for comment.