Wed, 17 Dec 2003

'Disabled people need special facilities'

The government figure shows that 3.11 percent of the country's 220 million population are people with disabilities. Small in number perhaps, but access for the disabled to public places and facilities are often neglected. The Jakarta Post talked to some people about the issue.

Sunarya, 25, works at a newspaper company in Central Jakarta. She resides with her family in Mampang, South Jakarta:

The discrimination of disabled people can be seen from the lack of public facilities built for them.

They are definitely different than 'normal' people, they need special facilities that will enable them to access public areas so they too can go about their daily activities.

Once I saw a disabled person who was having trouble getting on a public bus which has a high step at its entrance door and when he finally could get in the bus, he had to be stand in the middle of crowded bus.

In other countries, like Malaysia, they really give attention to the disabled by providing accessible public facilities, such as in the airport mosque.

In the mosque they have provided special benches for the disabled so they can pray easier. A similar bench is also put in the place where Muslim people do their ablution ritual before praying.

Devy, 30, a senior consultant in a public relations agency in Jakarta. She lives with her family in Kebon Jeruk, West Jakarta:

I actually do not have any relatives or close friends who are disabled or have to use wheelchairs. But sometimes I see other people who are using wheelchairs and I worry about them because there are not proper facilities in public places for them.

I personally think shopping malls have to provide access and restrooms for disabled folks. What I see now in Jakarta, there are only a few malls that provide such facilities.

Except for hospitals, of course they provide such facilities because they have a lot of people who use wheelchairs.

I know it is a big investment for the building management to construct facilities for the disabled, but I think all public places are required to provide them.

--The Jakarta Post