Ministry of Social and Family Development clarifies handicap parking policy changes

Photo: Kalai Vanen’s Facebook page

The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) has clarified that it will use a flexible approach in deciding whether persons with disabilities are allowed to park at handicap parking lots.

MSF clarified its stand on the revision in criteria for those who can use such parking lots after a post by national para-athlete Kalai Vanen criticising the move went viral.

The ministry said on 27 July that starting 1 November, persons with disabilities using crutches and quad sticks – considered less “bulky” mobility aids – would no longer qualify for the Class 1 label.

On Wednesday (2 Aug), Kalai, 58, posted on Facebook saying that using a walking frame would make it more cumbersome for him to walk, as compared to the elbow crutches he currently uses. The national powerlifter had his left leg amputated when he was 22.

His post was shared 1,400 times.

MSF posted a clarification online on Thursday (3 Aug) saying that those with medical conditions would be considered for eligibility for car park labels “based on their condition and needs beyond just the type of mobility aids used”.

The ministry also reached out to Kalai to assure him that he is still eligible under the scheme.

MSF said the revision was necessary because demand for handicap parking lots “has been increasing” and is expected to rise.

It said, “With the revisions from 1 November 2017, car park labels will be issued to those who are medically certified as having physical disabilities and require additional space to board and alight from their vehicles. For example, those using bulky mobility aids such as wheelchairs, walking frames and lower-limb prostheses.

“In addition, those with medical conditions such as muscular dystrophy, poliomyelitis and cerebral palsy would be considered for eligibility for car park labels based on their condition and needs beyond just the type of mobility aids used.”

Kalai has since asked people to stop sharing his first post and thanked MSF for the quick response. He added, “Though I may have been personally affected by the last announcement, the intent of my feedback was to highlight the possible impact on other disabled driers and those with other medical conditions.”
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