Advocates Need New Victory
October 26, 2004
PETALING JAYA, MALAYSIA--Columnist Anthony Thanasayan and his friend G. Francis Siva scored a victory for Malaysians with disabilities last summer.
The pair, who both use wheelchairs, addressed a gathering of dignitaries, which included the Prime Minister and Finance Minister. Their agenda was to ask the government to reduce road tax fees for drivers with disabilities, and increase financial benefits for all Malaysians with disabilities.
They were pleasantly surprised after their presentation when the Prime Minister instantly announced that the fees would be waived entirely. They later learned that benefits were increased to more than had been requested.
Thanasayan, who writes the weekly "Wheel Power" column for The Star, has since learned that the only way for drivers to take advantage of the waiver is to appear -- in person and with identification in hand -- at their local Road Transport Department office.
Not only is this a blatant form of discrimination, Thanasayan wrote in last Thursday's column, it is also impractical: Many of the RTD offices simply are not accessible to people with physical disabilities.
"Road tax benefit for disabled runs into an obstacle" by 'Wheel Power' columnist Anthony Thanasayan (The Star)