Call to make cities sustainable and inclusive for all

By Khairina Faizureen Khairuddin & Siti Rasyidah Zainuddin 

GOMBAK, 20 April 2021: The simplest change that we do can be the biggest contribution to our disability friends, a webinar on “Disability Inclusion & Sustainable Development Goals” was told.

Envisioned through Sustainable Development Goal 11 (SDG 11), Assoc. Prof. Ts. Dr. Izawati Tukiman, said that SDG 11 represents in making the cities and human settlement inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

“Malaysia has a ‘zero reject’ policy in our education system, which is in line with the rights for education for everybody, but if the we fail to improve our transportation system, none of our PwD (Persons with Disabilities) friends are able to access school, colleges or universities,” she emphasised on relations between SDG 11 and the PwDs in Malaysia. 

Dr. Izawati asked: “Can you imagine the difficulties they will face once they step out from their home?” She claimed that the public lack of awareness of obstacles faced by these PwDs is among the concerned issues that are related to SDG 11 and the PwDs in Malaysia. 

She urged Malaysians to participate in voicing out their opinion and knowledge in the city development plan as “Town and Country Planning Act 1976 of Act 172 opens up an opportunity and rights for public involvement in city planning.”

“We play a very important role to help our PwDs friends. It is a paradigm shift for us to change; first we need to change, then it will give a huge impact on them (PwDs),” she added.  

She further said that it is about time for the local authorities to upgrade the cities in a way that can facilitate access for the PwDs in order to increase their opportunities for economic participation. 

Dr. Izawati, who is also a mother of three special children said: “They need to make sure that it can be an inclusive city because PwDs are also Malaysian resources of human capital who are skilled workers, subject expertise and talented bodies.”

She said that since they are also helping to boost the economy of our country, they therefore need to be given a proper platform to contribute.

Dr. Izawati who has been with KAED Universal Design Unit (KUDU) for almost 12 years, expressed, “I am proud to say that IIUM is among the first university to have a Service Unit for the Disabled and I have done various audits in Gombak and Kuantan campuses in improving accessibility in IIUM campus and make the university inclusive.” 

IIUM Service Unit for the Disabled and KUDU have been working hand in hand for years in improving and upgrading the facilities in IIUM based on MS 1184 2014 Guidelines (Universal Design for the Disabilities) to make it inclusive and accessible for all, especially the PwDs students. 

Held last Friday (16 April), the webinar on the 11th SDG was organised by Professional Speech Communication class and has welcomed IIUM communities to be aware of the needs of inclusivity for the PwDs.***

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