Hoping to be the voice for the disabled again
Sheila Sri Priya
T. Anthony hopes to make it into the second batch
PETALING JAYA: T. Anthony, the first and only disabled councillor in the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), will not be taking his oath for another term today.
|A. Thiruvenggadam says councillors need to be independent|
Anthony said he had not received a letter from the state government asking him to attend today’s swearing-in ceremony at the MBPJ headquarters.
Eighteen people, comprising two new faces and 16 previous councillors, will be sworn in today.
The names of another six councillors have not been announced and Anthony is hopeful that he will be included in the second batch.
Some said that Anthony could have been dropped from the council line-up because he had “over championed” the rights of the disabled.
The manhimself, however, begged to differ and said that there was still a lack of awareness among the public on issues related to the disabled.
Anthony, who is also the president of the Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for The Disabled and Elderly Association(Pet Positive), had been criticised in the past for his efforts to get a stretch of pavement built along Jalan Gasing for the disabled.
The 500m pavement is currently being built at a cost of RM180,000 and some quarters had claimed that it was a waste of council funds.
“Millions are allocated for projects which benefit only thethose who are able-bodied. The disabled are also humans and they should also be givenprovided with facilities which will enable them to at least go out of their homes.
“Malaysians are always comparing Malaysia to more developed countries. They want better facilities and public amenities. There are more public amenities for the disabled in developed countries, so the public should be more tolerant towards the disabled here.
“When the pavements are cleared of obstacles like the postbox and lamp posts, it makes life easier for all. So everyone, including the elderly, pregnant women and children benefit from it.”
“If I could stand on both my legs, I would stand and salute the Petaling Jaya planning, health and engineering department because they are very concern over the needs of the disabled.
“The officers even agreed that in the past it never crossed their minds that many structures planned were not disabled friendly,” said Anthony.
He added that all he wanted was to be the voice for the disabled in the council.
“I will always champion the rights of the disabled and I believe that could be the reason why God made me a disabled.”
Meanwhile, another former councillor who has not been named in the new line-up is A. Thiruvenggadam.
The vice-president of the Petaling Jaya Selatan division of Parti Keadilan Rakyat is known for being vocal. especially on issues involving the distribution of resources and the spending of council funds.
Among others, Thiruvenggadam had claimed that the council had spent too much on mini signboards for the Petaling Jaya Museum. The bill for the signboards camehad come up to M89,000. However, this was slashed to only RM39,000 after Thiruvenggadam highlighted the issue which was front-paged by Streets.
He also questioned the RM53,000 spent on building a three-cubicle public toilet in Jalan 2/27.
“During my one year tenure, I’m glad that I had worked with a group of very intelligent councillors. We are all still in contact and everyone had played their roles well. But the political bodies should understand that councillors need to be independent,” said Thiruvenggadam.
He said councillors were answerable to the residents they served.
“We may be elected by our party leaders but we should be allowed to criticise and speak our minds too. Criticisms ensure improvement.”
The two new faces to be sworn in today are Tiong Boon Keong an professional engineer, and Terence Tan Teck Seng. who is in the shipping and logistics line. Both are from the DAP.
High-profile former councillor Derek Fernandez is among those who have been retained for another term.
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