Disabled in… government

Quick quiz


The stairway pictured here leads to:

A: Heaven

B: An open bank vault with $10 million inside

C: The disabled toilet

Sadly to neither A or B. Simply C

Feeling mad?


Or just resigned?

I took this photo at a fairly new Malaysian government office block in Cyberjaya last week trying to collect a new visa.

Under Malaysian planning laws all new buildings are meant to have accessible facilities.

And indeed the Expat Service Centre did have a disabled loo (with all the vagaries of what meets Malaysia’s definition of acceptable as opposed to accessible)

Problem was the architects forgot about the ACCESS part!!!

Good job there were two burly security guards around to carry me up the steps.

And check out the vehicle entrance here. No lower section in the kerb way from the vehicle entrance either. Guess disabled people aren’t really welcome at all.


What kind of message does this send? Malaysia signed up to the  ‘Proclamation on the Full Participation and Equality of People with Disabilities in the Asia-Pacific Region’ in 1994.

It followed up with the ‘Persons with Disabilities Act’ in 2008 which was designed to iron out the inequalities between the able bodied and disabled community. But it hasn’t quite worked out that way.

Accessibility has got stuck in a quagmire of legislation between the Town and Country Planning act, the Street Drainage and Building Act which is interpreted under the Uniform Building Bylaws and then there’s an amendment which meant that new buildings have to meet the ‘Malaysian Standard Code of Practice on Access for Disabled Person’ and existing buildings have 3 years to comply or face fines.

BUT while the Malaysian Standard code of practice was introduced in 2003 buildings are NOT required to comply under the Uniform Building Bylaws.

So guess what happens with all this conflicting legislation?

Sweet FA.

At a MATEC 2014 science conference it was noted that understanding the concept of Universal Design, i.e. access for all type of society, was still low in Malaysia.


My report card reads: Should do better








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