Driving schools and institutes in this country have not switched over from manual to automatic cars as yet.
Nevertheless, about a year ago, the authorities, that is, the Road Transport Department did cause quite a “storm”, when it announced that driving schools and institutes in Malaysia would very soon be allowed to use “automatic” cars for both purposes of “learning” as well as for “tests”. But, like everything else, this proposal very soon was put into the “cold storage” and nothing more was again heard about it.
Inspite of the fact that driving schools and institutes use only manual geared vehicles to teach potential students in Malaysia today, many people may not be aware of the fact that automatic cars can in reality be used and is being used.
There is in fact a group of people, the disabled or orang-orang yang kurang berupaya (O.K.U.) or if translated into English language, the “less unfortunate members of our society”, can both learn and test in an automatic car. This fact is I believe, not known by many people, even the O.K.U. themselves.
Talking a little bit more about the O.K.U., let me tell you a few things about them that you may not know. O.K.U.s need not wait in line at clinics and hospitals in our country. They are infact given special or preferential treatment, especially when getting medication.
Certain municipal councils like Kajang, Petaling Jaya and even Klang, of I’m not mistaken, provide special “passes” for parking to O.K.U. people. In LRT or light rail transit trains such as those operated by the Rapid Transport Company in Kuala Lumpur, the management advise people to provide O.K.U. folks seats should they encounter O.K.U. people.
Many establishments, such as supermarkets and banks for example, do provide parking spaces for those who belong to the O.K.U. category. In fact, these spaces are reserved for O.K.U. by the local councils themselves. For this, we should infact convey our gratitude and thanks to the “majlis perbandaran” or local council people.
Even though special parking places for the O.K.U. are reserved for the less unfortunate people, nevertheless, I feel that the numbers of such parking areas are still insufficient enough. Take Klang, the royal town of Selangor Darul Ehsan for example.
Around the Malayan Banking premises at Jalan Sireh, opposite Jalan Meru, one can see only one or two parking spaces reserved for O.K.U.s around its vicinity and clinics therein. The local councils, all throughout our nation, should infact see to it this anomaly be corrected as soon as possible.
But what is more important is that, normal people, and those who are abled bodied should not continue to go on “robbing” or “depriving” our so called less unfortunate brethren of the O.K.U. group of their rightful places to park their vehicles.
I believe, if only you are an O.K.U. person yourself, will you then know how a disabled person feels when he or she discovers that their places to park has been taken over by abled bodied members of our so called “caring” society.
Do think about what I am attempting to convey. Do not in future, ever attempt to park in the special blue coloured parking spaces with a wheel chair in it. It is meant for disabled person only!
In an article entitled “Parking Bay For the Disabled Taken Up” appearing in the Star newspaper dated 17th January 2011, the article went on to highlight that parking bays reserved for the “disabled” are being taken up by abled bodied motorists, leaving the O.K.U. frustrated and helpless.
One disabled resident from Petaling Jaya, Mr. Balasubramaniam, for example, expressed his frustration that parking bays which are reserved for the handicapped near Maybank in P.J Newtown, are often occupied by others.
Mr. Balasubramaniam reiterates motorcycles are parked all over the place, even on the five foot ways or verandahs where pedestrians walk. Are you aware that disabled people cannot park their vehicles if there are motorcycles all over the place? O.K.Us are unable to push the motorcycles away, said Mr. Balasubramaniam.
Mr. Balasubramaniam says he realizes that P.J Newtown area is a very busy area, nonetheless, he hopes that the abled bodied members of our society will accord more consideration, especially to the less unfortunate disabled people of our society!
Even though “cones” are sometimes placed in parking bays specially designated for the disabled people, they are nevertheless removed by abled bodied motorists, to park their cars there. How selfish can some people get!
A signboard put up specifically by the Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya in front of such parking bay says it’s strictly for disabled people, but sadly, not many motorists choose to heed it.
What should be done to solve this difficult by sad situation as faced by our disabled brethren and O.K.Us people? I can only suggest:-
1) Throughout the country, send their enforcement officers to such places and take strict against those motorists who violate this important directive.
2) The police can likewise do the same and summon motorists who have chosen to ignore these directives, thereby causing so much despair to the disabled community.
3) Even J.P.J officers on the rounds in their patrol cars are also requested to do their bit for the “O.K.Us” and disabled people too.
With this article, it is hoped that the problem of parking bays for the disabled being taken up” by abled bodied motorists will no longer exist.