DISABLED-friendly facilities and design will be the focus of Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) in all future projects.
Focusing on long-term benefits for the orang kurang upaya (OKU) community, Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib said architects and developers need to be more attentive in their building designs.
“I have observed that many submitting agents and architects do not take the needs of OKU into consideration when designing a building.
“We need to reassess the inspection methods before the Certificate of Completion and Compliance is issued.
“In this context, I think we need to discuss to secure guidelines that highlights the needs of OKU for developers to follow,” said Ahmad Phesal during the dialogue between DBKL and the disabled community.
Raising issues on the OKU facilities and inclusive involvement in society, Ahmad Phesal said a section or department within DBKL that focused on their needs would be considered.
Proposals were also put forward by OKU community representatives on the lack of disabled-friendly ramps and means for public transportation.
Ahmad Phesal said DBKL needed to work closely with agencies such as the Welfare Department, Transport Ministry and even the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry on the matter.
“SPAD (Land Public Transport Commission), Rapid, MRT and the public bus service also has to work together in outlining the needs of the OKU community,” he added.
Currently, DBKL was upgrading efforts at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman with the assistance of students from Universiti Malaya.
“We have selected students from Universiti Malaya as an accessibility audit team to advise DBKL on how to improve, enhance and prepare facilities that are OKU-friendly in Jalan TAR.
“Right now, we are focusing on making the road barrier-free for the OKU community, starting from Hospital Kuala Lumpur to Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman to Jalan Raja Laut,” said Ahmad Phesal.
Malaysian Paralympic Council athlete and community development manager Mohan Govindasamy sought the mayor’s support for more activities and facilities for the OKU community.
Echoing Govindasamy’s sentiments, National Council for the Blind Malaysia representative Wong Yoon Loong also sought opportunity for OKU members to be part of the Malaysian society and not be an isolated community.
“We also want to contribute to the country’s economy and live inclusively with everyone else.
“There are good facilities available for us such as community centres, but they are usually located far away from the general public community centres. We want to be included,” said Wong.
Commending the sheer will and drive of the OKU community, Ahmad Phesal said he would look into making such facilities more available.
“There are opportunities for the OKU community to be involved in the economy.
“Right now we have given permits to those who want to be buskers and run massage parlours.
“Some of these OKU talents have become very successful, such as the busking group The Caliphs, who are now performing at five-star hotels,” he said.
Upon request from the OKU participants, the mayor added that DBKL would support the ASEAN Disability Forum during the ASEAN Summit 2015, in terms of logistics and sponsor food and beverages for the event.