Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Universal design pavement is for everyone's benefit

Sheila Sri Priya
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T. Anthony says the disabled don't need sympathy but help
T. Anthony says the disabled don't need sympathy but help

PETALING JAYA:A group of disabled people has hit back at the critics of the universal design pavement being built in Jalan Gasing.

Calling the RM180,000 pavement a move in the right direction, they described it as a long-overdue necessity.

“The disabled don’t need sympathy, they need help. In the past, we had to fight for job opportunities and the right to use public transport,” said former Petaling Jaya councillor, T. Anthony, who led the group of over 20 disabled people to view the pavement and speak up on the importance of having such facilities.

“But the key problem remains — access for the disabled. The disabled don’t just go to the hospitals, they have lives to live.

“Every year, children are born with disabilities and people do meet with accidents and become disabled, so it is good to start thinking universally,” said Anthony.

The group included two former councillors who are disabled, and parents of disabled children, who all agreed that there should be more public amenities built based on the universal design concept that is suitable for everyone.

They are members of Malaysia Against the Discrimination of the Disabled, which is a coalition made up of Independent Living and Training Centre, Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association (Pet Positive) and Perwira K9 Malaysia.

Anthony and other the group members urged the public to support Petaling Jaya City Council’s effort to build the universal design pavement, believed to be the first of its kind in Malaysia.

It was recently reported that some quarters were not happy with the amount spent on the 500 metre-long pavement.

“Universal design means it is for everyone and not just the disabled’s use. So I don’t understand what the fuss is all about,” said Anthony, who is also the president of Pet Positive.

Firdaus Mohd Nazar, who became a paraplegic after a road accident three years ago, agreed.

“I am 24 years old and work as a clerk. I would love for the country to be equipped with facilities for the disabled,” said Firdaus.
Ahmad Daniel Mohd Sharani, 33, a writer who lives in Ara Damansara, added.

“We have to start somewhere and Petaling Jaya is leading by example.Instead of criticising and mocking a noble project, why can’t public be more supportive?”

Former Selayang councillor, Gurdip Kaur said she had set up a committee for the disabled in the Selayang Municipal Council. She added that more needed to be done for the disabled.

Mohd Ramli Abdullah, 49, from a Felda settlement in Pahang, said the rights of the disabled had long been neglected.

“People are generous with their sympathy but fail to provide us with basic facilities. They say we are asking for too much. I think The public should stop being cruel to us.”

Most of us are forced to own a car because there’s no way for us to walk as the pavements are not disabled-friendly,” he said.

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