DET Individual Presentation – Our Rights As Disabled People

The following is my individual presentation as part of the DET training. With the limited time and resources available, I was unable to elaborate or present more facts. Each participant was allocated ten minutes for their presentation. Among the more interesting presentations were from Mohamad Sazali Shaari who pointed out the unsuitable use of the term Orang Kurang Upaya (OKU, Less Abled People) on People With Disabilities and Wong Yoon Loong who educated us on the ways to interact with the blind. Mohamad Sazali is the the President of the Malaysian Federation of the Deaf and Wong is the Principal of Gurney Training Centre for the Blind.

Good morning. My presentation for today is Our Rights as Disabled People. What are Rights?

Everyone has the right to be treated equally irrespective of their race, religion, political beliefs, physical abilities, etc.

However, most times, People With Disabilities (PWDs) are not accorded this because we do not represent a majority in most cases. Our disadvantaged position are often overlooked and ignored.

Let us look at the different types of Rights.

We Have Human Rights.

Our impairments do not make us less of a human. Human rights are the most basic of rights that every individual is equal and are not in any way more special from the person next to them.

Examples of human rights are housing, food, freedom to express and freedom from discrimination.

We Have Civil Rights.

We are citizens of a country – members of a society – that interacts with each other. Civil rights protect us and out interests as individuals involved in this larger group.

Disabled people being a component of such a group or society should have full civil rights as any other person.

Examples of civil rights are accessibility in public places, access to public transportation, to be educated in the school of our choice and the right to vote.

These rights make us equal to others where we exist and interact either other individuals whether they are disabled or non-disabled.


Entitlement is where People With Disabilities (PWDs) are given certain privileges because of their disadvantaged position in society.

These entitlements compensates PWDs because of the lack of opportunities and facilities that non-disabled people have been able to enjoy.

Examples of entitlements are housing, employment, equipment and transportation.

Entitlement is a direct way of saying that PWDs have special needs, that we are different and that society has to provide us with the extras because of our lack of ability to fully enjoy all that the non-disabled people are able to enjoy as part of society.

Entitlement under the law assists PWDs obtain their civil and human rights but this being a kind of privilege means that not all who are entitled to it a being provided with it.


For the exercise, I would like you to tell me whether the following are human rights, civil rights or entitlement.

1. Disabled people have the RIGHT to lead a fulfilling life.

2. Disabled people have the RIGHT to become the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

3. Disabled people have the RIGHT to buy the national care a discounted price.

4. Disabled people have the RIGHT to accessible, clean and usable toilets.


As you can see, disabled people and non-disabled people have the same rights, either human rights or civil rights. Where these rights are infringed upon, PWDs must point it out and work with the relevant government agencies and NGOs to restore these rights and make PWDs equal to everyone else in all aspects. Thank you.

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. End-stage renal disease since 2017. Principal Facilitator at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. Former columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

5 thoughts on “DET Individual Presentation – Our Rights As Disabled People”

  1. TP,
    The organisations for people with disabilities will have to come out with a proposal. This must be a term that is acceptable to the community and also the government.

  2. Tanka,
    The term “orang kelainan upaya” (differently abled persons) has been in use for a while although it did not catch on like “orang kurang upaya” did.

    Those points were for exercise’s sake, to challenge the knowledge of participants on their rights. Yes, education is one of those rights but there are still segregated schools for some impairments. We would rather like to have students with disabilities to be included in mainstream schools where they will be able to receive a standard of education that is at par with what other non-disabled students are receiving.

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