The Ministries of Land Management and Social Affairs yesterday issued a joint directive requiring all buildings to accommodate those with physical disabilities by building infrastructure such as wheelchair ramps and allocating parking spaces.
The directive applies to train stations, airports, schools and other public spaces. It also applies to apartments, hotels, restaurants, factories and other private buildings.
It notes that new buildings are required to facilitate persons with disabilities by building accommodating infrastructure such as ramps and parking spaces, while old buildings, though not required, must accommodate to the best of their abilities.
It said building and construction site owners must arrange for the implementation of ramps, ladders, locks, doors, elevators and bathrooms that are disabled-friendly.
Em Chan Makara, secretary-general of the Disability Action Council, yesterday said some buildings have accommodations for disabled persons, but noted that specifications must be standardised.
Mr Chan Makara said some ramps are too high and lack railings, which makes it difficult for a disabled person to use.
“I praise AEON Mall for having disabled-friendly elevators and making it easy for someone with a disability to get around the mall,” he said.
Sous Samnag, a disabled person, yesterday said having standardised specifications for all buildings can help someone like her.
“I can be independent when a building has a ramp, but not all places have it,” Ms Samnag said. “I would have to depend on someone nearby to lift me. I don’t always want to do this because I don’t want to disturb them.”
“We hope that the new directive will help people like me and make it easier for us to move,” she added.
According to a recent report by the Social Affairs Ministry, there are 2,839 persons with disabilities, including 1,478 severely disabled, who are employed in ministries and state institutions.
The report also said that in the private sector, 77 companies have hired a total of 3,055 disabled people.