Tuesday 8 April 2008

Malayan Railways, totally inaccessible to the disabled


KTM Berhad = Keeping Total Mobility Blocked

Why, when Malaysia boasts of having sent a man into space c/o the Russians last year, are most railway station platforms and trains in Malaysia totally inaccessible to the disabled?

The disabled, especially those using wheelchairs, those with walking difficulties, as well as the elderly and the infirm are all but excluded from using trains in Malaysia, since they cannot get access to the platforms.

(The same exclusion from using public transport applies to Buses, Monorail Trains, Light Rapid Transit Trains, Taxis, and for the disabled who drive, many car parks do not properly cater for wheel chair users, and the vast majority of buildings are inaccessible too, but in this post, lets look at the Malayan Railway)

Alas, all but a few, stations have no lifts, even basic wheel chair ramps are not found, the quite new, and much talked about central hub of the railways, KL 'Sentral Station', is in fact the only fully disabled accessible station in the whole country, yet even here there are no facilities to enable wheelchairs to access the trains by means of ramps. I also cannot recall seeing any universally accessible toilets.

It is also doubtful if the KTMB, and KL Sentral staff have ever been trained to assist disabled persons.

On board the train, this includes the mainline Intercity Trains and the local Commuter Trains around Kuala Lumpur, there are usually some priority seats which are supposed to be for the disabled, but other passengers usually will not give up their seat to a disabled or an elderly person, and there are no specially designated locations where wheelchairs can be safely located and secured.

The Blind and the Deaf are also not catered for, verbal announcements are unreliable, sporadic or garbled, and the deaf have no visible means of obtaining information, especially on board trains. The LRTs and Monorail do slightly better in this regard.

Tactile markings on footpaths, etc., and other essential guides which the Blind use to negotiate their way using their white canes, are totally absent on KTMB trains and in railway stations.

Sometimes the seats for the disabled are even invisible!

(click on picture for larger image)

These are all very serious issues which need a full response from Ketetapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) [Malayan Railways] Corporate Communications Manager, Ms. Shahrina Embi and also the top management.

Positive effective urgent action is needed to eliminate all the inaccessibility issues; platitudes and no action talk only (NATO) tactics are useless, as is patronisation and expressions of sympathy

See KTMB web site, and, should you wish to, leave a complaint HERE


If any potential visitors to Malaysia, who are disabled, elderly or infirm, are reading this, please be aware of the serious accessibility problems you may face in Malaysia.

Until the situation improves, you may wish to review your holiday plans, and choose to visit a more considerate country which provides accessibility for all, and where everyone is treated equally and truly and sincerely accorded dignity and respect.

Perhaps you may consider it is better spend your money elsewhere in a more conducive locale.


General Safety Matters on Trains.

If you are safety conscious, then be on your guard, fire extinguishers, window break-glass hammers and other safety equipment are often missing from their stowage points on board KTMB trains.

In alio pediculum, in te ricinum non vides

- You see a louse on someone else, but not a tick on yourself.

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