Despite aiming to improve public amenities, the government appears to be neglecting the transport needs of older adults and people with disabilities.
For example, one would be lucky to find a train ticketing counter serving older people and people with disabilities for the various rail services in Kuala Lumpur.
Instead, these people will have to fall in line at the end of long queues of younger and more able-bodied commuters.
Some service sectors do put up small notices showing the special lanes for older people and people with disabilities, but such notices are often inconspicuous. One would find out only later, after standing several minutes in a queue, that older people do not have to queue.
Often, counter service staff do not realise they have to be extra courteous, patient and polite in attending to older people.
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Our culture has always observed the practice of showing respect for older people, irrespective of their ethnicity. What has happened to this social strength?
It is high time the government, which is committed to Madani (civil) principles as the bedrock of the nation’s future, looks seriously into the needs of older people and people with disabilities.
Likewise, private business operators – whether in the food, transport, banking or any other service sector – should also be compelled to pay attention to these groups.
Marketing and publicity alone are insufficient for us to move towards a culture of adopting ‘best business’ practices.
The media should conduct periodic scoops and report on the service quality enjoyed (or rather, suffered) that older people and people with disabilities have to endure.
Perhaps it is time to shame those (including some in the civil service) who fail repeatedly in the national effort to make Malaysia Madani a success story.