ORGAN donation, which was previously a taboo topic for the people in Malaysia, is gradually being accepted by more and more people.
Interviews conducted with a group of people showed that many would not mind donating their organs after they have passed on, but felt that it should be done voluntarily.
Lok Choon Fai, 31, said he was willing to sign up to help those in need.
“If it is to help people and for a good cause, I would not mind.
“I also do not mind if my children are doing it too,” he told The Star.
“I would sign up if someone approached me, but no one has done so yet,” he said.
Lok said if people wished to donate their organs, the decision should be respected and he felt that it does not require consent from family members.
“The organs are mine and they will not serve me further after I have passed away.
“If my organs could still be of use to others, I think it is alright to donate them,” he said.
According to the Transplant Unit and National Transplant Resource Centre website, there has been a steady increase in people pledging to become organ donors from 2009 to 2011.
There were 16,457 pledgers in 2009 and the figure grew in 2010 with 20,381 people and reached 31,063 in 2011.
In 2012, however, the number of people pledging their organs decreased to 30,019 and it fell further to 18,280 in 2013.
Despite the long list of pledges, only 26 people donated their organs in 2013.
Of the organs that were desperately needed for transplants, the waiting list for kidneys was the longest, with 17,102 patients as of June 2013.
Other organs needed include the liver, heart and lungs.
Businessman Yogeswaran said organ donation should not be forced upon a person and should be done voluntarily.
“It all comes down to how that person feels about it.
“If he is willing, then there should not be obstacles from anyone.
“I do not think it is harmful to implement the law to make people organ donors,” he said, adding that he was willing to become a donor.
KPJ Ipoh Specialist Hospital chief executive officer Asmadi Mohd Bakri said awareness among the public on the matter was still low.
“I feel the public should be given more information about organ donation and how it could benefit the recipients,” he said.
On whether Malaysia should make it compulsory for its citizens to become organ donors, he said it was up to the policy makers to decide on this.
“We do hold campaigns from time to time to make more people aware of this, even though organ donation is not our core activity,” he said.
Housewife Faizah Mansor said that a person should be absolutely sure before pledging to donate their organs.
“I think that people are entitled to their own opinion when they reach adulthood.
“If a person is old enough to decide, due respect should be given to them after they have passed away,” Faizah said.
“This is not a common topic in my family but I would like to discuss this with them,” she added.
Faizah said she would not force any of her family members into pledging their organs for donation.
“It would not be sincere if you are not willing to do so.
“It is like forcing someone to donate money to the poor,” she said.
Ex-hotelier Gunjan Jaiswal, 36, said that a person’s upbringing was very important when it comes to how one views organ donation.
“It all boils down to how educated and well-informed that person is,” she said.
Gunjan also felt that people should be clear about the process for organ donation before committing to anything.
“We should find out what happens to the harvested organs,” she said.
“Take blood donation for example, I would like to know how my blood will be utilised after donating it,” she said.
Gunjan said that in a multi-racial country like Malaysia, there will be people who were conservative while some were more open-minded.
“All opinions should be respected.
“Personally I feel that instead of implementing rules and regulations that require people to be organ donors, we should make it easier for those who want to pledge their organs for donation,” she said.
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