Health Ministry will continue to ensure unethical organ-harvesting is prevented - DG
SHAH ALAM - The Health Ministry will continue to ensure that any illegal and unethical activities related to the selling of human organs, the removal of organs by force or coercion, or the inequitable distribution of human organs shall be prevented.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said this in response to a statement by Bersatu Youth (Armada) chief Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal on Monday that people were selling their kidneys to sustain a livelihood following the government's decision to not allow targeted Employees Provident Funds (EPF) withdrawals.
Dr Noor Hisham said claims of organ procurement activities which were done illegally and unethically must be taken seriously.
He said the ministry welcomed anyone with information on the matter escpecially politicians to come forward to the ministry or the police.
"The authority could take action against any individuals or organisations involved in human trafficking for the purpose of selling organs under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007.
"The selling of organs illegally is unethical and no medical practitioner should get involved in such activities," he told Sinar Daily.
He added that the number of doctors trained to do transplants in Malaysia was restricted, and only a few hospitals, including private hospitals, may have the expertise to execute the surgery.
"We have not heard of any irregularities in the practices so far and if there are any, we would welcome any party with information to come forward.
"Malaysia is a signatory toThe Declaration of Istanbul on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism, formalised in 2008, and supported the WHA63 Sixty-third World Health Assembly: Resolutions and Decisions; 2010 on guiding principles for human cell, tissue, and organ transplant.
"The ministry would like to reiterate the fact that we will continue to ensure that any unethical activities related to the selling of human organs, the removal of organs by force or coercion, or the inequitable distribution of human organs shall be prevented," he said when contacted.
He added that the ministry will continue to educate the public and health professionals on the importance of deceased organ donation and preserve the rights of living donors, such as their ability to make suitable, informed decisions.
Relevant information about organ donation can be obtained on the National Transplant Resource Centre website at www.dermaorgan.gov.my.
On Monday, Wan Ahmad Fayhsal in a press conference at the Parliament lobby said there were those who had to sell their kidney to sustain a livelihood following the government's decision to not allow targeted EPF withdrawals.
“If targeted EPF withdrawals are not allowed, what is the government’s suggestion to help the people who are struggling, to the point that some had to sell their kidneys, or walk from Johor to Istana Negara?.
"This is something huge that involves pubic interest,” he was reported saying.