Asean Para Games medalist: Recent amendment to car park label scheme cripples the disabled than to enable them

Singapore powerlifter Kalai Vanen posted on his Facebook on Wednesday, commenting on the recent change to the Car Park Label Scheme (CPLS) for persons with disabilities.

From 1 November 2017, only persons with disabilities who use bulky mobility aids such as wheelchairs and walking frames will be eligible for accessible car park lots. Existing car park label holders who do not meet the new eligibility criteria will have their term of support expire according to their current expiry dates, after which any application for renewals will be subject to the revised eligibility criteria.

Mr Vanen, a Asean Para Games bronze medalist who has been widely featured by ActiveSG and other agencies wrote:

“I currently use a pair of elbow crutches and they, the smart people at the Ministry of Social and Family Development want people like me to use a walking frame, so that we can continue to be eligible to use the Class 1 Disabled parking label. Neither walking aid, would allow me to walk, holding an umbrella if it rains nor would they be of any help if I had to carry a bag or two and having to manoeuvre walking around a parking lot.

The walking frame or the wheel chair won’t do anything to improve my mobility. As strong as I am, walking is not easy. If you are reading this, please share the post, as I have many friends with various degrees of disability who drive. I am utterly surprised that, to date, none of the ‘disability’ associations have commented on the new ruling.

How can they call themselves The Ministry of Social and Family Development or associations for the betterment of disabled people? We rather be abled bodied, queuing for a car park lot and walking than be using a disabled parking label. We are crippled by the very people who are purportedly supposed to enable us. Inclusion, my foot!”

The change which was announced by Minister of Social and Family Development (MSF) on last Thursday stated that only persons with disabilities who use bulky mobility aids such as wheelchairs and walking frames will be eligible for accessible car park lots. This means that Mr Vanen would have to use a mobility aid like a walking frame as demonstrated in the photo that he posted.

MSF wrote that the change had came about because many still have difficulty finding accessible car park lots despite  an increase in the number of drop-off points at various amenities and HDB flats to enable easier boarding and alighting.

It further claims that the ministry and Ministry of National Development had consulted stakeholders, including persons with disabilities and their caregivers along, Voluntary Welfare Organisations and public car parks enforcement agencies such as the Housing and Development Board and the Urban Redevelopment Authority in revising the CPLS. Stating that there was consensus to reserve accessible lots for those who require additional space for alighting and boarding their vehicles.