Allow organ donors the right to save lives


  • Letters
  • Tuesday, 04 Mar 2003

From the Chinese Press

SEVERAL Chinese-based associations have appealed to the Health Ministry to reconsider the ban on transplants of organs donated by living persons, saying that such operations should be allowed in order to save lives as long as the donations are made voluntarily. 

Nanyang Siang Pau reported that the Federation of Buddhist Associations, Federation of Chinese Associations and Federation of Professional Chinese Physicians Associations were among the groups whichh had voiced concern over the ban. 

They said the ministry was setting the clock back and urged that the laws be amended to allow donations of organs from relatives and genuine donors so that lives could be saved. 

The Health Ministry recently banned government hospitals from performing transplants of organs donated by living persons because of negative implications for both the donors and society. 

Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Mohamad Taha Arif said last week that the Government also discouraged private hospitals from doing the same on the grounds that it was not in accordance with medical ethics.  

Federation of Buddhist Associations president Reverend Shi Ji Huang said Buddhism encouraged one to use one’s organs to save another’s life. 

There should not be any law to frustrate one’s good intention to save life, he said. 

Federation of Chinese Associations secretary-general Wong Shak Thong said the federation felt that saving lives should take priority over other considerations. 

He said chances were that a patient’s life might not be saved if, according to the law, he must wait for the right organ to come from a dead person. 

Federation of Professional Chinese Physicians Associations president Kuok Nan Chang said the federation understood the intention to prevent the sale of human organs, but could not agree to the blanket ban on the transplant of organs by living persons. 

The ban deprived patients the opportunity to be saved, Kuok added. 

St John's Ambulance chief commander Datuk Dr Low Bin Teck has also called on the ministry to reconsider its decision. 

He said the law should be amended to enable doctors to transplant organs donated by living persons in order to save lives as long as the donations were genuine and voluntary. 

·KELANTAN Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat said the state plans to build a mosque blended with Chinese and Indian designs to encourage the two races to embrace the religion. 

According to China Press, Nik Aziz said the mosque would be built along the highway near Rantau Panjang. 

He said the design had been finalised and was awaiting funding for the project to be carried out. 

According to the daily, Nik Aziz, who was attending a Keadilan gathering in Temerloh, hoped that the Chinese could play a role in the management of the country’s Islamic affairs.  

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