PETALING JAYA: Almost three quarters of public premises audited for accessibility in the country are rated three stars or below, with several requirements not up to the Malaysian standard (MS1184).
The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday (Aug 9) an Accessibility Audit Study was conducted at public, commercial, institutional, religious premises, recreational parks, outdoor facilities, transportation and health facilities from 2011 to 2022 by KAED Universal Design Unit (Kudu), Faculty of Architecture and Environmental Design, Islamic University International to gauge the accessibility of people with disabilities (OKU).
“A total of 195 premises have been audited with the involvement of two to three local authorities to organise the audit programme.
“Of these, 13 premises were given a rating of five stars, while 40 premises got a four-star rating,” it said.
The remainder or 73% of the audited premises received a rating of three stars and below.
“A total of 89 premises received a rating of three stars, while 48 premises got a rating of two stars and five premises got a rating of one star,” it said.
The findings of the audit were presented to the National Council for People with Disabilities in a meeting chaired by Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri on Aug 1.
The ministry said that based on the findings of the audit, there was a lack of signage and directions that made it difficult for disabled people to find facilities such as toilets and parking.
Ramps for the wheelchair-bound were also unavailable, which hinders their access to the main route and disabled facilities, in addition to steep and uneven ramps which do not comply with MS1184.
“The audit also found damaged footpaths, disabled parking spaces that did not meet MS1184 specifications, and disabled parking without a stand sign.
“Besides that, toilets for the disabled were quite small with mirrors too high up and not meeting specifications, making it difficult for people in wheelchairs to use the facility,” it noted.
In addition, it said that a “refuge area” was not provided in the emergency stairwell area.
Other shortcomings included elevators in premises not being fitted with the braille and voice transmission system, making it difficult for the visually impaired to use or to call for help.
The ministry said recommendations for improvement included, among others: standardising Universal Design (UD) policies and guidelines on built environments for the whole of Malaysia; establishing a team or UD unit in the Technical Department of local authorities related to pro-consultation purposes; reviewing plans for UD development; and monitoring of new development areas.
Other recommendations were drawing up an accessibility master plan for each local authority; as well as organising an accessibility awareness programme and accessibility audit workshop to collaborate with government agencies or NGOs twice a year.
– The Star