The Straits Times
Published on Feb 19, 2013

Don't forget to cater for the disabled


WHILE the debate on the Population White Paper continues, it is almost certain that the number of people suffering from autism, Down syndrome and other developmental disorders would increase by 2030.

Amid the plans to build a vibrant city with more housing and transport facilities, as well as a better living environment, I wonder if the special needs population would be overlooked.

By 2030, the number of people aged 65 and older is projected to hit 900,000.

But what about the projected number of people with intellectual disabilities, physical impairments and other special needs?

Based on international figures that these people make up around 10 per cent of the world's population, the number here could balloon to 690,000 by 2030.

These people, coupled with the elderly, could make up a substantial portion of the population.

It would be a daunting task for the planners to prepare various facilities to cater for them.

I was quite disappointed and shocked when I learnt that our public transport operators charge full fares for the disabled.

The Land Transport Authority should consider offering "concession rates" to people with special needs, or even offer them free travel on our public transport system.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi