Ensure the disabled have unfettered access to toilets

I am glad that Jurong Point Shopping Centre has installed a system to prevent misuse of its toilets for the disabled ("Tap-in to use toilet for the disabled/Malls 'will study card access system'"; last Friday).

I hope other shopping malls will follow suit and install a similar system, perhaps something that costs less.

In the meantime, malls can start off with simple notices that read: "This toilet is strictly for the disabled. Please be considerate."

The next step is to install a closed-circuit television camera just outside the toilet, with an intercom to allow the disabled user or his caregiver to speak to the duty personnel to allow access.

Most locals would recognise the disabled icon and know what it means, so those who misuse the toilet are doing so not out of ignorance but due to a to lack of consideration for the disabled, who may show up any time.

Rather than any urgent need, some able-bodied people are using the toilets for the disabled because they want a cleaner, bigger toilet, or wish to avoid the long queue in the regular toilets, or are using them to change their babies' diapers.

It is time that shopping malls and other public institutions ensure unfettered access to toilets for the disabled, given that there may be more who need to use them because of Singapore's ageing population.

Chew Chee Weng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2015, with the headline 'Ensure the disabled have unfettered access to toilets'. Print Edition | Subscribe