BOTH the blind and the deaf are not entitled to getting parking stickers for the disabled under the current regulations set by several local councils.
In light of this, the affected group hopes the local councils will at least provide more priority parking bays for their convenience and that of their carers.
StarMetro checked and found that local councils in Selangor provided parking stickers for the disabled (OKU), who were given free parking at council-managed bays.
Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) provide OKU stickers to those with OKU cards and are registered with the state Welfare Department.
However only those with physical disability, learning disability, nerve-related disability such as cerebral palsy, or more than one of the mentioned disabilities qualified for the stickers.
Spokesmen for both councils confirmed that the deaf and blind were excluded from the eligibility to apply for the stickers.
The reason given is that the blind do not drive and the deaf can park at any parking bay as they can move without hindrance.
StarMetro spoke to several disabled groups to understand their predicament and suggestions to cater to those with other disabilities.
What the disabled say
The Adult Blind Association Selangor president Yam Tong Woo said, ideally, all holders of disabled cards recognised by the Government should be provided with the OKU parking stickers by local councils.
Yam said the plight of the blind had been overlooked because they would ride with family members or friends.
“When the person driving us has to park far away from our destination, the walk over the distance becomes risky to us particularly if it is a busy road and some places are full of obstacles.
“We often get accidentally knocked by other vehicles along the way as we walk.
“Our elbows often get brushed or knocked by passing vehicles and it hurts badly.
“Sometimes, we accidentally put our hands on hot car bonnets. I have burnt my hands in this manner numerous times.
“The hot exhaust pipes of motorcycles in a parking lot also pose a danger to the blind.
“It is common for us to accidentally brush our legs against a hot motorcycle exhaust pipe while walking.
“The blind also tend to walk slower and we often get honked at by inconsiderate motorists in the carparks.
“All these cause so much discomfort and anxiety to us and our carers accompanying us,” said Yam.
He pointed out that it was not a good idea to drop the blind at the entrance of a building while the carer went off to find parking space.
He said standing alone put the blind in a vulnerable situation because they could not see while waiting for their carers to park their cars after dropping them off in front of their destination.
National Council For The Blind Malaysia spokesman Wong Yoon Loong welcomes the move to provide OKU parking stickers for the blind.
He said the blind would not be able to use the emergency alarm button at carparks for help.
“Sometimes one sighted person will drive three blind people to a location.
“When we get down we will be walking in a row to come out of the parking area and this is dangerous for us,” Wong explained.
As the number of OKU parking bays was limited, he suggested that the authorities should consider introducing priority parking for the benefit of people with other types of disabilities such as visual or hearing impairment.
He said the facility could be extended to pregnant women and the elderly.
“The physically disabled can continue using the larger disabled parking bays but do designate some normal-size bays painted with the OKU logo for the rest of us.
“Or allocate priority parking that can be used by our carers when we are with them,” he said.
Malaysian Federation of The Deaf president Mohamad Sazali Shaari told StarMetro that security was a concern for the deaf and the speech impaired at parking lots.
He said they were unable to shout for help in an emergency.
“It will be safer for us, especially the women, to park closer to the entrance of a building.
“People in our category may not need the OKU parking bays because we understand our physically disabled friends will need the larger bays to park their vehicles and move into their wheelchairs.
“If our deaf and speech impaired community can park in safer surroundings, it will be helpful,” said Mohamad Sazali through his interpreter.
Society of Orthopaedically Handicapped Malaysia secretary-general Miskan Kasiman said the OKU parking bays should be larger than normal bays to enable the physically disabled to transfer to their wheelchair.
He also welcomed the idea of providing more priority parking bays for the benefit of the blind and the deaf.
“The current OKU parking bays are for the physically disabled and we need them.
“I think we can include more parking bays for my friends who are blind or deaf, as well as the elderly,” said Miskan.
Wong, Mohamad Sazali and Miskan also represent the Malaysian Confederation of the Disabled.
Jayagandi Jayaraj, who suffers from partial profound level unilateral hearing loss, said she was almost knocked down by passing vehicles as she could only look in one direction at a time.
She said she could not tell if there were people walking behind her or vehicles coming up from the back, and this posed a danger to those like her in a carpark because she was not fully in control of her environment with all her senses.