Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Greetings To All My Readers

Monday, December 15, 2014

They Did Hear Us.

In Nov 2012, I wrote that Penang State Museum And Art Gallery did not have wheelchair access (see link HERE), I am happy to say that it now has. I was told by one of their staff  that a ramp and an accessible toilet were added not long after my post was published. I wish to thank the authority for listening to the voice of disabled persons. I visited the place yesterday (Dec 14, 2014) and here is my short report.

The new and beautifully designed ramp is at the left side of the gallery compound. I like this ramp because it has a gentle slope, good width and non-slip floor. It also has a pair of well-designed handrails. It would be perfect if it has edge protection at both sides of the ramp. But as a whole it is still a safe ramp to use.

The photo below shows a ramp with edge protection. The purpose of edge protection is to prevent small front wheels of wheelchairs from slipping off the ramp.

I had no problem locating the accessible toilet. There were clear signages to indicate its location. The toilet is reasonably good and it is useable for most wheelchair users. I was surprised to see that the door opening inwards. But since the toilet is very big, I had no problem turning my wheelchair around to close the door.

The toilet bowl was correctly placed. There was enough space for people who use side transfers. (See this video if you want to know what is side transfer.) For more information about accessible toilet, please click HERE.

But I was disappointed to see that grab bars. They were not installed properly. Here is a drawing showing how grab bars should be installed. For more information about please click the link HERE.

After the visit, I concluded that although the Penang government wants to have more disabled access, the quality of access design is still lacking. Malaysian Standards have clear specifications for disabled access, but many designers are still unable to follow the standards correctly. There may be a need for the authority to organise more training sessions to help more people understand the subtleties and requirements of disabled access standards.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Helping Wheelchair Users - Three Points To Remember

A lot of people do not know how help wheelchair users. I am giving three importants tips here. Of course there are many more but let's start with these very important points first.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Friday, October 31, 2014

Designing Doorways For Wheelchair Users

Most people are not aware that not all doorways are suitable for wheelchair users. There are certain special requirements if you want to design a really good doorways for wheelchair users. I hope this post helps you understand some of the important requirements.

The key points to remember are:
1, There should be sufficient space for wheelchair users to maneuver at both the "push" and "pull" sides of the doors. (See drawing below for what is meant.)
2, Handles, pulls and other opening devices must be suitable for persons with reduced strength and dexterity to control.
3, Lever type handles and push lock mechanisms are preferred.
4, Glass doors must have bright and colored motifs at eye level.

Please note the difference between the "Push Side" and "Pull Side" of doorway.

The drawing above illustrates the importance of having clear space in front of a door. The clear space (marked as yellow box in the left drawing) must be placed at the correct position. The wheelchair user at the right drawing has problem reaching the door handle due to lack of clear space.

Layout of door handle, door bell ..etc should follow the above drawing.

Level type handle is preferred.

Persons who have limited fingers movements will have problem with this type of door knob. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Budget 2015, Employment & Wheelchair Users

The trend in Malaysia is that the working disabled persons get more welfare allowance than the non-working ones. I think that is unfair to many non-working wheelchair users. Here is why.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Penang Struggles: Signature Campaign For Persons With Disabilities Act

(I have been requested to document the struggles of the disabled persons of Penang. I will be making a series of videos on this topic. I shall call these videos "The Penang Struggles". Here is one of the videos.)

More than 10 years ago, the PWD ngos of Penang organised this very successful signature campaign. It was one of the milestones of SILA (Sustainable Independent Living & Access), a forum for PWD ngos of Penang.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

From China Press

China Press did a follow up story of my post. I must thank them. That will create more awareness.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

"Dear Car Owner"

To my Malaysian readers, please share this in your Facebook if you agree with this video. I hope to reach the owner of this car via social media. I did the video in Chinese because I think the car owner is a Chinese. What I said in the video was translated in the text below. Thank you.

“Dear Car Owner, greetings. I saw your car parked at the disabled persons’ car park yesterday and made this video today to communicate to you. I covered up your number plate because I did not want people to know who you are. But I am sure you will recognize your own car. I will place this video in Facebook and hope you will help the disabled when you see this message. Yesterday there were too many cars and not enough car parks. I believe your original intention was not to part at disabled persons’ car park, but due to lack of car park you felt that “never mind lah, only once in a long time, may be no disabled person will come". I hope you will help us by not parking at our car parks next time. You can also help us by telling your friends to respect disabled persons’ car parks. Thank you.”

Friday, October 3, 2014

CRC Restaurant

Good food, but not accessible. Why? When will MPPP enforce the law to make building like this accessible to the disabled and the elderly many of whom are using wheelchairs.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Why I Normally Don't Tell People Their Place Is Not Wheelchair Friendly

Many readers of my blog asked me if I tell the people that their place is not wheelchair friendly. My answer is often "No". This video explains why.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sri Ananda Restaurant

Some of my friends understand simple spoken English but have problems reading English. So I decided to try to use video to make my post. I am not sure if it is good to do this. Please give me your opinion.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Island Plaza

Island Plaza is an old shopping mall. I used to go there more than twenty years ago. At that time, it was not a friendly place for disabled people (I was assisted by helper). I visited the place recently (July 16, 2014) and found some new facilities for wheelchair users. Here is my short report.

If you go there by car, you can find two disabled persons’ car parks at the basement / lower ground floor of the building. (See photo above.) Wheelchair signs were clearly painted on the pillars and the wall next to the car parks. The width appeared to be correct to me. 

However, the route from the car park to the lift lobby is rather hazardous because of a very steep ramp. This ramp is more for supermarket trolleys than wheelchairs. (The supermarket is located next to the lift lobby). This slope / ramp had been there for a long time and I think improvement should be made to make the gradient right for wheelchair users. (See photo below.)

The lifts / elevators were the same old ones I used to use. I think this plaza needs new and more disabled friendly lifts.

I was very happy to find a clear signage at corridor indicating the location of an accessible toilet. 

The toilet is completely new. It is spacious and expensively done. But it has two basic problems. One, it does not have a mirror. Two, the basin will post problems for people who use side-transfer to move to the toilet bowl. (The space beside the toilet bowl should always be left empty.) Here is the layout of an accessible toilet in accordance with Malaysian Standard. (For detail information about accessible toilet please follow the link HERE.)

The following drawing illustrates the side-transfer method. 

The following photo shows how this toilet can be further improved.

Before I left, I took a quick look at the porch in front of the main entrance. I was searching for a step ramp but could not see any. A step ramp is necessary here because not all wheelchair users will enter the building via the basement car park. Those who come in taxi or by buses would need a step ramp to reach the main entrance. I hope the building owner will install one soon. It does not cost much to have one. (For more information about step ramp, please click the link HERE.)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Penang State Museum And Art Gallery : Update

On Nov 17. 2012, I wrote a post pointing out that the Penang State Museum And Art Gallery at 57 Jalan Macalister did not have a ramp. I am very happy to say that the Museum has a new ramp now. Apparently it has been there for quite a while already. I passed the place a few weeks ago and saw the ramp but unfortunately I did not have the time to stop and take a close look. I wish to thank the authority / government of Penang for hearing the voice of the disabled. (25 August 2014)
(Here is the original post).

I visited the Penang State Museum And Art Gallery (at 57 Jalan Macalister) on 9 Nov 2012. I was very disappointed that the place has no disabled access at all. I could not understand why. I have seen disabled facilities successfully installed in many heritage buildings in Penang. The Court House, Former ABN Bank (at Beach Street), St George Church and Suffolks House just to name a few. Suffolks House even has a lift that goes to the first floor.

I have contacted the authority about this matter and they have agreed to do something. Meanwhile, I will be monitoring this building when I am free.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Long Wait

Last year (2 July 2013) when I checked Queensbay Mall's north entrance, I discovered that the step ramp was not in proper alignment with the platform (see above photo). I informed the mall's information counter and asked the officer there to inform the management. When I checked the same location recently (8 Aug 2014) I discovered that the problem was still there. Again I informed the information counter. I hope they take action this time.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

In China Press

"Wheelchair Access Penang" appeared in China Press (Northern Edition) today (14 August 2014). So far three newspapers have written four articles about us within the last one month. It is good to know that the press are giving stronger support to our problems. The e-version is available here:

 Or click HERE to go there directly.

In Kwong Wah Yit Poh Again

On 5 August 2014, Kwong Wah Yit Poh published an article about a post in "Wheelchair Access Penang". Two days ago (12 August 2014) the same newspaper published a more in-dept story with greater emphasis. The e version is available at:

Or you can go to the e version directly by clicking HERE. Google can then do some form of a translation in English for you.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Importance Of Regular Maintenance

I took these two photos at Queensbay Mall recently. The photo above shows the ramp in front of the Central Zone. Due to poor maintenance (see the arrow pointing at the broken metal piece) the gap between the ramp and the driveway posts a problem to wheelchair users and mothers with prams. The photo below shows how a mother had to step on a paddle at the back of pram (see arrow) to overcome the gap. I am not sure if MPPP has authority to ask the mall management to do something about this gap. If yes, I hope MPPP can act as soon as possible.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

In Kwong Wah Yit Poh

Two days ago (5 August 2014), Kwong Wah Yit Poh published a follow up story on my recent post "Wheelchair Access Blocked" (23 July 2014). This was the second newspaper that supported my blog post. I really appreciate the press for supporting disabled persons' issues. You can find the internet version at     

Or click the link HERE

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Steep Ramp At A Walkway

I took the above photo at the junction of Jalan S P Chelliah and Jalan Gurdwara yesterday (3 Aug. 2014). The ramp at the end of walkway is very steep. I could not understand why MPPP makes such a fundamental mistake. For an outdoor walkway like this, the gradient of the ramp should be 1 in 16. This ramp is very steep and thus can post danger for wheelchair users. (See the illustration below.) I urge the Penang government to hold regular training sessions for people at all levels to educate them about disabled access.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Preventing Motorcyclists From Using Pedestrian Walkway: A Suggestion

The above photos were taken on July 23, 2014 at Jalan Masjid Negeri. The location was the pedestrian walkway in front of Penang Free School. It was newly built and friendly to both pedestrians and wheelchair users. Unfortunately some motorcyclists have started to ride on this walkway. They must be stopped.

One possible way of stopping these people is to build wheelchair gate on the walkway. The photos below illustrate my suggestion. The first photo is the current walkway. The photo below that is a concept photo (drawn with a computer software) showing how a wheelchair gate can be build to deter the motorcyclists from using the walkway. Please note the blue arrows. The logic is to create twist and turn in a narrow passage. The passage should be wide enough for wheelchairs but not motorcycles. More about wheelchair gate can be found in the link HERE.