It is said, “it does not rain, but it pours”. In life it seems, troubles normally comes, one after another. As a driving instructor, no one I feel, knows the feelings of a handicapped person, or an OKU (Orang Kurang Berupaya) better than myself. Quite a few handicapped people have seeked my help to get a driving license.
In one of my articles elsewhere in this blog, I wrote an article entitled A Sad Story that Might Possibly Move You to Tears. In it, I claimed that I was indeed a kind and magnanimous person.
A few years ago, during a practical test held at our institute, I witnessed a sad and touching incident. A young, handicapped or OKU girl, was doing her test. Even though she was not my student at all, yet I was concerned for her all the same. In my heart of hearts my prayers infact were with her. If you are one who understands what a handicapped person goes through in life, then possibly you may in reality know how I felt.
As I reiterated, I watched the above crippled student doing her slope test, then her side parking. And finally, her 3 point turn maneuvers. But unfortunately, when she finally came out from the last part of her exam, she was slow and she knocked into a curb. In reality, she had Failed her test.
The OKU student was going to fail her exam. Do you know, the agony the OKU student would have to go through should she fail? I then frantically looked around for my friend, Mr. Tan. The handicapped student was his student.
I implored Mr. Tan to talk with the chief tester to request him to be symphetatic with the OKU testee. But the chief tester was adamant. He unfortunately had a heart of stone. He could not see or understand how handicapped or crippled person felt! He just couldn’t comprehend what a handicapped person goes through without a driving license. Alternatively, he was only doing his job, after all.
Appeals to the chief tester by my friend and myself, to be lenient with the OKU student and allow her to pass, fell on deaf ears. The chief tester decided to fail the student. He Failed her! And the poor handicapped girl had to do her retest the following week. It was just her luck.
A handicapped person, infact goes through a tremendous lot of hassle, if he or she wishes to secure a driving license. Do you want to know what a handicapped person has to go through?
First of all, a handicapped person has to be examined by an orthopaedic surgeon at the General Hospital. Secondly, an OKU student, has to secure his or her own automatic vehicle. He or she could borrow an auto vehicle from a friend if she wishes to too.
But of course, he or she will have to get the owner’s permission first, then obviously she’ll have to buy the necessary insurance coverage.
Thirdly, a handicapped candidate has to see to it that the required OKU vehicle will have to be plastered with the necessary OKU signs to warn the public of the dangers which they might possibly face when they confront him or her.
Should a handicapped person be lucky enough to secure a driving license, his or her problems does not end there. As I said earlier in the beginning of this article, it doesn’t said, but in reality, it pours. If you are an OKU, you infact face a lot of problems later on.
Besides securing a valid driving license, OKU drivers face parking problems after they secure their driving license. Municipalities, be it Selayang Municipal Council, the Petaling Jaya Municipal or the Klang Town Council, are not at all bothered about the sufferings of our less fortunate OKU people.
Let me quote you the hardships and sufferings of one handicapped person, Mr. P.S. Nathan, from Petaling Jaya.
The above writer laments, he faces tremendous difficulties everywhere. Infact, up and down the country. At PLUS rest stops, and even hospitals, as well. Mr. Nathan says, he faces lots of difficulties in trying to park, at Selayang Government Hospital, University Hospital and even the Kuala Lumpur Hospital as well.
Mr. Nathan further laments that it is not that the authorities do not accord the necessary parking places for OKU and handicapped people. The parking lots are there. But it is just that the Malaysian Public do not seem to bother about the feelings of our unfortunate OKU brethren at all.
Who in actual fact can help our handicapped brothers, asks Mr. Nathan. The people who can lend a helping hand are:
i. The public. Abled bodied people should not attempt to compete with the less fortunate and handicapped people by parking at OKU parking lots.
ii. The police should also go around shopping complexes and malls, large government buildings like EPF, Income Tax Department and Registration Departments and see to it that parking lots are not misused. Stern actions should be taken against abled bodied folks who rob OKU people of their rightful parking places.
iii. Guards or hospital personnel can also chip in to help to a certain extend. But in reality, their hands are tied. They have no right to take stern actions or fine those drivers who abuse the use of OKU parking facilities.
iv. Although parking lots in most big towns in Malaysia are allocated by many municipal councils for handicapped people near banks, utility payment areas such as Telecoms, N.E.B. officers, the Waterworks Department, shopping malls and supermarkets, nevertheless, in most cases, such facilities are misused.
What can an OKU or a handicapped person do about it?
They can do nothing except pray and hope that there will be some form of compliance and understanding from the general public towards OKU parking areas. Besides that, all the OKU people can hope for is to appeal to the authorities concerned to provide a better commitment towards regular enforcement.
And finally, it is imperative for all agencies to comply with Akta Orang Kurang Berupaya 2008. Set up designated parking lots for the OKU. And the most important of all is to enforce the provisions and see to it that the abuse currently committed by abled bodied individuals of our society is no longer tolerated. Together, let us not allow the rain to pour any further.