But with the low number of people streaming in to pledge organs, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam (pic) said that patients would have to wait longer to find a donor match and get a second lease on life.
There are 19,895 patients on Malaysia's organ waiting list. Of that number 19,871 are in need of a kidney; 10 are liver patients; six are heart patients, and eight are in need of lungs.
In a written reply to Ahmad Lai Bujang (PBB - Sibuti), the Minister said that the donor rate in Malaysia was one donor per one million citizens.
In comparison, neighbouring Singapore in 2004 had an organ donor rate of 35 per million citizens.
Dr Subramaniam said that though more Malaysians have been stepping up to register themselves as donors, the supply was far too few to meet existing demand.
"This situation has caused many patients to go overseas to countries like China and India to undergo transplant operations. But this practice is not encouraged because the identities of the donors are not known and exploits a community from the lower social-economic status," he said.
He added that doing so was in violation of basic ethical medical practices and human rights enshrined in the 2008 Istanbul Declaration.
Dr Subramaniam called on more Malaysians to pledge their organs and that the Ministry was working on attracting more donors under its strategic organ donor awareness campaign.
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