Saturday, September 7, 2013

Dewan Sri Pinang

Dewan Sri Pinang is an important building in Penang. It is a popular auditorium for live performances. It also housed the Penang State Art Gallery. (Go to the end of this post if you want a link to more information about this building.) I was there to see an art show on 20 June, 2013 and took the opportunity to check the place.

An accessible car park was located at the roadside near to the building. As I moved my wheelchair in the direction of the art gallery, I noticed the walkway in front of me was not wheelchair friendly. (See photo below).

I had no choice but to move on the street, exposing myself to the danger of oncoming vehicles. As I moved further I discovered a kerb ramp. So I moved my wheelchair on to the walkway. (See photo below). It then occurred to me that the walkways along this stretch of the road were not consistent. Some have kerb ramps but some do not. I could not understand the logic behind this inconsistency.

After I reached the gate of the art gallery, I entered the compound without any problem.

I found a ramp in front of the entrance to the art gallery. But handrail was provided on only one side of the ramp. This is not a good practice. Handrails should always be provided on BOTH sides of a ramp. The reason is that many disabled people (non-wheelchair users) have only one strong arm. It could be the left arm or the right arm. Handrails at both sides will allow them to choose the one suitable to them.

I had problem entering the art gallery because of the step at the entrance. (See photo below). Once inside the space is all flat and wheelchair friendly.

The art gallery is located at the side of Dewan Sri Pinang. I had go to the front entrance of the building by a ramp. The ramp was a bit steep but luckily I was using my motorized wheelchair. It would be difficult for manual wheelchair users to climb this ramp. One can easily make the ramp gentler by extending it longer. (There were enough space). Handrails should also be installed.

I was surprised to see that Dewan Sri Pinang does not have accessible toilet. I had trouble trying to enter the ground floor male toilet because of the small step at the entrance.. (I did not have time to go to the first floor to see if there is any accessible toilet up there.)

The following photos were taken inside the toilet. (For more idea of what is a good accessible toilet, please click HERE.)

The auditorium is located at first floor. I could not find a lift to go up. There were two long ramps at either sides of the building that connect ground floor to first floor. But they were too long and too steep for any wheelchair users. 

Before I left, I took a photo of the ramps in front of the ground floor seminar rooms. These ramps were steep and unsuitable for wheelchairs. (See photo below.) 


Penang government often publicly announced that they are committed to improving disabled access. But what I saw in Dewan Sri Pinang made me feel that the commitment is still lacking. Georgetown cannot be a world-class city if it is not disabled friendly.

(More information about Dewan Sri Pinang can be found at

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