KUCHING: Local authorities should make cities and towns more friendly and accessible to disabled folk (OKU), said Sarawak Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah.
“Mobility is one of the challenges faced by the OKU,” said Fatimah when she unveiled the new parking spaces for the disabled at Stutong Community Market here.
She said stairs or steps could be a hinderance to the disabled and elderly folk.
“The OKU will be further disabled if the environment does not support them,” she said.
Fatimah praised local authorities that were constantly improving parking facilities for OKU.
“Our OKU want to live a dignified life and be independent. We have to support their endeavour so that they are able to live on their own income and not be dependant on others.
Fatimah stressed that motorists must not park on spaces designated for disabled folk at any time.
“Do not say that we are wasting space by not parking there, it is about respect. You have to abide by it,” she added.
Currently, there are 37,340 OKU registered under the Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing Ministry.
Fatimah hopes parents will register their children with the ministry so that they are able to enjoy the facilities.
The ministry held an outreach programme for the community at Stutong market.
An information booth was set up to explain the services provided by the Government through Welfare Department.
Fatimah said it was important to correct people’s misconception that the Government’s welfare assistance was dedicated to the poor and needy folk from certain races.
“Let me assure you that the various schemes provided by the government is to help the underprivileged folk from all races, religion and zones,” she added.
Meanwhile, Kuching South City Council (MBKS) said there were 44 OKU parking lots under its jurisdiction including the two new lots at Stutong Market.
Th council said parking was free of charge for all OKU as long as they parked their vehicles in the designated space.
The city council plans to gazette more space for OKU in the future and calls OKU motorists to apply for parking stickers.