Saturday, August 20

Accident makes minister better understand needs of disabled


KOTA KINABALU: The tragic incident experienced by Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun gave her a better understanding of the needs of people with disabilities (OKU).

She said moving around in a wheelchair for two weeks was not easy as she needed assistance from other people not only to the washroom but also to shower.

“Personally, I have to admit that anyone can be an OKU. We should not take our health for granted because accidents can happen anytime, anywhere,” she said while sharing her experience on her accident near Airport View Hotel, Km  6 Jalan Kepayan that happened last month.

Azizah told this to reporters during the launch of OKU facilities at Wisma Tun Fuad Stephens here yesterday.

She said there would be more disabled-friendly buildings in the future.

Azizah said she had proposed to government agencies, the local authority and the Public Works Department to build more disabled-friendly buildings.

She said any new buildings should be disabled-friendly as had been discussed with related government agencies during workshops held in 2008 and 2009.

For old buildings, they would need to provide facilities for OKU as what had been done to Wisma Tun Fuad Stephens.

“The premises is the first old premises equipped with facilities for OKU, and meet the standard set under the Disabled Act 2008,” she said when launching the facilities for OKU at Wisma Tun Fuad.

The government had allocated RM200,000 to upgrade the building to be disabled-friendly, including upgrading of toilets, lifts and automatic doors.

The government is also planning to equip lifts with a system for blind people.

When asked on development of disabled facilities in the state, she said there were improvements in terms of providing facilities for the disabled.

Earlier in her speech, she said there are a total of 18,780 disabled people in Sabah up to December 2011.

She said the government is providing assistance to help this group, including allowances.

Azizah said under Section 26 (1&2) of the Disabled Act 2008, the disabled have rights to have access to public amenities and buildings.

“Therefore, the government or developers should consider and take the initiative to build a building that meets the universal standard for use of the disabled,” she said.