Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Botanic Garden Of Penang

The Botanic Garden of Penang used to have an accessible toilet. I used it before many years ago. But when I visited the garden on 7 Nov 2015 I discovered that the accessible toilet was no longer there. I was very surprised and could not understand why the management of the garden made the decision to demolish the accessible toilet. The thoughtless action contradicted the legal requirements of Malaysia's Uniform Building By-laws (UBBL). By-laws 34A of UBBL clearly states that public gardens must have disabled access. (Full content of by-laws 34A can be found HERE.) The management of the garden has completely ignored the by-laws and I could not understand why the authority has not taken any action against them.

While I was there, I took some photos of the toilet. I am posting them here for the wheelchair users who plan to visit the garden. I hope the photos will give you a rough idea of what to expect.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

By-laws 34A of the Uniform Building Bylaws (UBBL)

By-laws 34A of the Uniform Building Bylaws (UBBL)
In Malaysia, it is mandatory that all public buildings must provide facilities for disabled persons.  In Sep. 20th 1990, an amendment was made to the Uniform Building Bylaws (UBBL) at the 35th National Council of Local Government (NCLG).
The amendment, namely 34A in UBBL, makes it compulsory for buildings to provide access to enable disabled persons to get into, out of and within the buildings.  Buildings already built before the commencement of this by-law must be altered to comply with the by-law within 3 years from the date of commencement.
Under National Constitution article 95A, the provision of NCLG is binding on all state governments.  By-law 34A of the UBBL was gazetted in the State of Penang on Nov. 11th 1993. (State Gazette No. Pg. P.U 26).
The following is the full text of bylaws 34A of the UBBL:


In exercise of the powers conferred by section 133 of the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974, the State. Authority Makes the following By-laws:

These By-laws may be cited as the Uniform Building (Amen4ai6w), By-laws 1991.
By-law 2 of the Uniform Building By-laws 1984 which in this By-laws is referred to as "the principal By-laws" is amended by inserting immediately after interpretation “detached building” the following inter­pretation.
"disabled persons" means people; with a physical, hearing or sight impairment which affects their mobility or their use of buildings as referred to under by-law 34A;".
The principal By-laws is amended by inserting immediately after by-law 34, the following new by-law 34A:
34A(1)Any building or part thereof to which this by-law applies shall-
(a)be provided with access to enable disabled persons to get into, out of and within the: building except for any part of the building for which access is provided wholly or mainly for the in­spection, maintenance or repair of the building, its services or fixed plant or machinery; and
(b)be designed with facilities for used by disabled persons.
(2)The requirements of this by-law shall be deemed to be satisfied by compliance with Malaysian Standard MS 1184 and MS 1183.
(3)Buildings to which this by-law applies and which on .the date of commencement of this by-law have been erected, are being erected or have not been erected but plans have been submitted and approved shall be modified or altered to comply with this by-laws within 3 years from the date of commencement of this by-law.
(4)Notwithstanding paragraph (3) the local authority may where it is satisfied that it is justifiable to do so-
(a)allow an extension or further extensions of the period within which the requirements of this by-law are to be complied with: or
(b)allow, variations, deviations, or exemptions as it may specify from any provisions of: this by-law.
(5)Any persons aggrieved by the decision of the local authority under paragraph (4) may within 30 days of the receipt of the decision appeal in writing to the State Authority whose decisions shall be final.
(6)The requirements of this by-law shall apply to any of the following buildings or any part thereof –
(a)offices, banks, post offices, shops, department stores, supermarkets and  other administrative anti commercial buildings. except shop-houses existing, at the commencement of this by-law;
(b)rail, road, sea ad air travel buildings and associated concourses, car parking, buildings and factories;
(c)hospitals, medical centers, clinic, and other health and welfare buildings;
(d)restaurants, concert halls, theatres, cinemas, conference buildings, community buildings, swimming pools, sports buildings and other refreshment, entertainment and recreation  buildings;
(e)religious buildings;
(f)schools, colleges, universities, zoos, museums, art galleries, libraries, exhibition buildings and other educational, cultural andscientific buildings; and
(g)hostels, hotels and other residential buildings other than single family private dwelling houses.

The following table shows the gazette dates of by-laws 34A of the UBBL :-
No.StateGazette DateGazetted Document
1Perlis3 March 1994PS. P.U.2
2Kedah30 November 1992-
3Pulau Pinang11 November 1993Pg. P.U.26
4Perak13 May 1994Pk. P.U.26
5Selangor20 January 1994Sel. C.U.95
6Negeri Sembilan31 January 1991N.S.P.U.1
7Melaka22 May 1996-
8Johor7 May 1992J.P.U.14
9Pahang28 March 1996-
10Terengganu15 December 1993-
11Kelantan3 July 1992Kn. P.U. 5/92
12Wilayah Persekutuan13 August 1993P.U.A. 305/92

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fort Cornwallis Food Court

Fort Cornwallis Food Court has been operating for many years. There are some very nice hawker food there. But unfortunately wheelchair users are unable to reach the place. Here are some photos I took when I checked that place on 13 Oct 2015.

If a wheelchair user comes from Light Street, the entrance is blocked. (See photos above).

You cannot enter from the public car parks. (See photo above).

Entrance from Jalan Tuan Syed Sheh Barakbah is also blocked. (See photo above). So no access at all entrances.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Udini Square

Udini Square is a newly opened shopping mall at Lebuh Tunku Kudin 3. It is just next to Tesco Gelugor. A friend told me there is a passage connecting the two buildings. So I decided to check them out on 16 Sep 2015.

A very visible accessible car park sign greeted us and this gave me a good impression (see photo above). The friendly guard guided our car to the car park. There were all together four accessible car parks. It is good that these car parks are completely separated from the general car parks. There will be no possibility of abuse. But since it is an open air car park it can be messy when it rains (see photos below).

Next to the car parks is a ramp. I had no problem using that ramp. But I didn’t like the fact that handrail is only installed at one side of the ramp. A ramp must always have handrails on both sides. I had also noticed a very sharp edge at one point and this could post a danger to the person who accidentally falls (see photos below).

Since the mall is newly opened, it was not fully occupied yet.  But as usual, I first made the point to check if this mall has an accessible toilet. And if it has, I will try to review the design of the toilet. I was actually quite disappointed with the accessible toilet when I saw it. Firstly, I didn’t like the grab bar that is fixed to the floor. And secondly the empty space beside this toilet bowl is too narrow (see photos below).

I hope the following photo illustrates my points clearly.

After checking the accessible toilet, I tried to find out if the lift of the the mall reaches the basement car parks.The lift did reach the basement (see photos below). And I think the car park next to the entrance is also a good location for disabled drivers’ car park because it is well shaded from the rain and sun. 

Before I left, I check the passage way that connected this mall to Tesco. The entrance to the passage could be easily found.

But if a wheelchair user tries to go to Tesco using this connecting bridge, the person will be blocked at Tesco’s end. (See photos below.) 

I left the mall feeling very frustrated that wheelchair users are again being discriminated. It is simply unfair that we are unable use the same facilities that other people enjoy.

Update on 26 Dec 2015
Some of the problems highlighted in the above post have been solved (see photos below.) I wish to thank whoever is responsible for making the improvements.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Two Hotels In One Building

St. Giles Wembly Hotel and Cititel Express were opened in Penang recently. Both hotels occupied the same building. St. Giles Wembly's entrance is at Magazine Road (Jalan Magazine) and Cititel Express's entrance is at Noordin Street (Lebuh Noordin). (See map below.)

The ramp to enter St. Giles Wembly is as shown in the photo below. The ramp appeared to be steep and there is only handrail at one side of the ramp.

The ramp to enter Cititel Express are shown in the photos below.

The multi-storey car park has a few accessible car parks and one of them was located next to the lift. (Photo below.)

The accessible toilet at St. Giles Wembly was located at the lobby and could be found easily. It was big and bright and quite expensively docorated. The only thing I didn't like was the location of the basin. (See photos below.) It is not good for people who use side-transfer.

The accessible toilet of Cititel Express was quite a distance from the lobby and hidden behind a wooden door. A friendly receptionist led me all the way to the toilet. We had to go up a ramp and then past a long corridor before we could reach it. Then we found that the toilet was locked and she could not locate the person who had the key. I ended up using the one at St. Giles Wembly.

I encountered an irritating problem when I was at the hotels. The floor from one part of the building to another part are often not jointed smoothly. The small front wheels of my wheelchair got stuck a few times and I had to "reverse" (moving back to front) so that I could use the big hind wheels to overcoming the problems. Here are some photos to illustrate my point.

Conclusion: All new buildings in Penang are beginning to have facilities for wheelchair users. This is a good trend. But the designs of these facilities still have room for further improvements.