|APAC seeking cheap publicity|
A RESIDENTS COALITION HAS COME UNDER FIRE FROM A LOCAL COUNCILLOR.
DATELINE: PETALING JAYA
THE ALL PETALING JAYA RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION COALITION or APAC has been taken to task for not taking responsibility for the conduct of one of its members under its sub-committee at a disabled seminar organised by the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), last month.
Called, "Moving Forward, Keeping The Promise", the organising chairman and MBPJ Councillor, Anthony SB Thanasayan - who is also in charge of Section 52 where the seminar was held - had written a letter to APAC president Johan Tung on January 1st this year.
In it he strongly protested against the actions by Miss Bathmavathi Krishnan, a subcommittee member of APAC in a wheelchair who, together with three other persons also in wheelchairs, gatecrashed into the seminar that was held in PJ's Civic Centre on December 29, 2010.
|Some of the mixed participants|
Their purpose, he said, was to clearly try and derail the discussions with their very personal caustic criticisms and baseless arguments.
"Not only that, the subcommittee member took her wild concocted tirade of distortions and half truths about the MBPJ seminar to the media (see report below)," he told PET+BLOGSPOT yesterday.
He then went on to refute each one of them that were made in the newspaper.
His points were also included in his protest letter to Tung, he said.
Describing the complaints as "a mischievous attempt to discredit all the good work that MBPJ had initiated since (Thanasayan) became councillor in 2008" he said:
|The speakers on disability were disabled themselves|
A) Lie No 1: "The disabled were not invited to the seminar".
1) First and foremost; it is not only the organiser's prerogative to decide on the purpose and agenda of an event; but they also reserve the right to choose who they wish to invite as participants in order to meet the objectives of the event.
2) Second, the event was a closed-door affair and not for the public meeting.
3) Third, it was specifically targeted at the able-bodied community - NOT people with disabilities.
Its focus was on the present key stakeholders such as resident association leaders, heads of religious organisations and places of worship, architects, local councillors and their heads of departments - all who have the power and influence in their positions to make a qualitative difference in the lives of disabled persons.
The seminar was geared to educate them and get them talking about how they can play their parts in creating a barrier-free society.
B) Lie No 2: "APAC was not invited"
1) Tung was not only one of the first participants to be sent an invitation to but also the first to acknowledge receipt of the invitation.
|Signing for Deaf particants|
This was expressed personally to Thanasayan through the several calls made to him to confirm his attendance.
2) Tung was also briefed that the seminar was targeted at the non disabled only.
3) Tung who turned up at the event, took part in the floor discussions and publicly announced that APAC was pleased with the seminar.
C) Lie No 3: "The disabled were sidelined at the seminar."
1) This gives a cunning impression as if there were no disabled persons or their organisations present at the seminar at all.
There were in fact four officially registered disability societies at the seminar.
Two of them were the Dyslexic Association of Malaysia (PDM) and the Malaysian Animal Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association (PETPOSITIVE).
Both of them are national based non profit NGOs from Kuala Lumpur.
The other two were the Society for the Interpreters for the Deaf or SID and the Independent Living and Training Centre (ILTC) - a self help organisation run by people with disabilities themselves.
Both organisations are Wilayah and Selangor societies with the former based in KL and the latter in Rawang, Selangor.
All of them have disabled and elderly members living in the city of PJ as well as nationwide.
2) The speakers also came from the above organisations to express the views of the blind, Deaf, people with physical disabilities and the elderly at the seminar.
The speakers included a tetraplegic, an expert in the field of learning disabilities, a blind speaker and a Deaf.
There was also a carer for an elderly gentleman who was struck with stroke recently.
By contrast, the gatecrashers were only wheelchair users.
3) Each of the organisations are also council members of MBPJ's disability technical team that is responsible for their input in making PJ disabled-friendly.
4) Invitations were also given out to organisations that represent people with mental illness, People with Parkinson's, stroke and others who were unable to make it for the session.
D) Lie No 4: "The disabled were denied their right of say"
1) Each of the four gatecrashers not only got to speak at almost every session, and also at length, but they even tried to divert the flow of the discussions to bring up their petty and personal issues which should have been raised in another platform or to the departments directly responsible for them.
2) One of them used a vulgar term at the planning director at the seminar to run down MBPJ's award-winning disability projects.
3) Others tried potshots at the distinguished speakers for the day with accusations of hypocrisy to playing with ridiculous language semantics.
4) From feedback received afterwards, most of the participants including the speakers were totally put off by their conduct as well as that of APAC's.
Complaints about their conduct - as well as APAC's role in the incident - were made to Thanasayan before he took the matter up in writing with the association.
However, Thanasayan received a response from Tung four days later, brushing aside the incident and stating that the matter as far as they are concerned is "closed".
In a fresh reply to Tung on January 5, Thanasayan expressed his shock and disappointment with the APAC president's handling of the matter.
"From your response it is clear that APAC is only capable of operating on half-truths and downright lies just to get cheap publicity from the media.
"(It) is the lowest (rung of the ladder) that your organisation has nosedived to," he added.
"(I could never) work with APAC; as being unethical and totally irresponsible have never been the aims of achievements of my (character), work and mission," concluded Thanasayan.
Write to us. Tell us what you think. Was APAC right in handling the issue? Does APAC really represent all persons in PJ? What about the disabled? Does being disabled give one the right to do what one likes including gatecrash an event? Was it fair to bash the MBPJ when it seems to be the only council that is doing its best for the disabled?
PET+BLOGSPOT reserves the right to edit comments or to not print them. Please be polite and constructive in what you say. Thank you!
Click HERE for a previous story on the disability seminar.
The Malay Mail report:
All Petaling Jaya Residents Association Coalition
Submitted by shaza on Thursday, December 30th, 2010
Associations cross with council's disregard for forum invites by A. Fuad Paiz
Thursday, December 30th, 2010 11:12:00
PETALING JAYA: Associations for the disabled felt sidelined by Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) as they were not invited to a forum yesterday on improving facilities for the group.
The "Real World Challenges and Opportunities for the Disabled" forum was held at Dewan Banquet MBPJ yesterday morning, commemorating World Disabled Day.
All Petaling Jaya Residents Association Coalition and Subcommittee for Elderly and Disabled Residents (APAC-SEDAR) chairman Bathmavathi Krishnan said the council denied them the right to have their say at the forum.
"Why did they not invite us? I was not informed until this morning when the resident association president from my area sent me an email regarding the forum. Only then did I drive to the venue."
PJ councilor Anthony Siva Balan (pic), also the event organiser, brushed off Bathmavathi's allegations as a misunderstanding.
"Previously, MBPJ had organised a similar event for them. I would like to clarify this forum was only targeting able bodies to persuade them to join the council's efforts to provide the best amenities for the disabled."
He assured representatives of disabled people had been invited to the forum.
Bathmavathi, however, was unconvinced.
"We are part of residents living in Petaling Jaya. Therefore, they are obligated to invite us to this event. I saw a lot of empty seats. Why couldn't they just fill it with representatives from the the disabled society?"
The Malay Mail also found attendance at the forum was disappointing.
Echoing Bathmavanthi's statement, Damai Disabled Persons Association of Selangor and Wilayah Persekutuan Malaysia (Damai) president V. Murugeswaran hoped the council would not repeat the mistake in future.
"It is a good idea to bring in the able-bodied to exchange ideas but the council should have known that we are the major players. It must keep us informed of these kind of events so we can give our input."
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