No place for the disabled in Batu Caves

The Batu Caves temple grounds, which underwent a RM3.1 million renovation to turn the holy site into a thriving tourism hub, is not disabled-friendly.

According to a disabled group, the temple management had failed to incorporate disabled-friendly features at the site despite having met with the group and heard its suggestions

Expressing his disappointment, Damai Disabled Persons Association president V Murugeswaran said that even if there was a disabled-friendly feature, it was not up to standard specifications.

“Because of that, many disabled Hindu devotees are unable to visit Batu Caves during Thaipusam which falls next Tuesday,” Murugeswaran said, adding that the association had 250 members.

He said the association, which is also a consultant to a prominent bank on providing disabled- friendly facilities, had met with the temple committee last year in a bid to get more suitable features incorporated at the site.

He said among the facilities they requested were the revival of the funicular train, toilets and car parks for the disabled.

“They promised to call us for a meeting but nothing came forth. The only thing they have now is a ramp which was built to provide access to the toilet.

“Unfortunately, the ramp is too steep and could pose a danger to us,” said Murugeswaran.

He added that even the toilets for the disabled were not designed according to proper specification.

He said that in 2007, Tourism Malaysia had announced that it would conduct a study on the old cable railway tracks next to the staircase going up to the temple.

“But nothing has transpired since. We’ve been defeated in our efforts to try and get Batu Caves to become more disabled-friendly.

“Maybe that’s why it may turn to be another Thaipusam-less day for us on Feb 7,” he said.