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15 Ag 07
Singapore will amend its Human Organ Transplant Act to improve the access of Muslim patients to donated organs and to introduce enforcement powers to investigate offences such as trading of organs.
The Act allows for the removal of kidney, liver, heart and cornea upon death for transplant purposes from Singapore citizens and permanent residents between the ages of 21 and 60 unless the individual registered an objection.
Presently, Muslims are not covered under the Act and have to opt in under the Medical (Therapy, Education and Research) Act for organ donation but the republic’s edict recently ruled that Muslims can be included in the Act that make them organ donors automatically.
“The inclusion of Muslims under the Act is expected to provide up to five additional organ donors a year, yielding up to 10 kidneys, 10 corneas, 5 livers and 5 hearts,” the Health Ministry said in a statement.
“For Muslim patients, it means enhanced access to donated organs as those who require an organ transplant will enjoy equal priority for organ transplants as all other Singaporeans who have not opted out,” it said.
According to the ministry, the end-stage kidney failure among the Malays and Muslims is disproportionately higher than in other races.
Of the new cases of end-stage kidney failures, 22 per cent were Malays although they made up only 14 per cent of the total resident population.
The ministry also proposed the provision of enforcement powers to give the authority investigative offences under the Act such as in the trading of organs and blood, carrying out living donor organ transplants without the authorisation and disclosure of confidential information obtained under the Act.
Once amended, the Act will provide the ministry with powers to conduct investigations; empowering inspectors to enter premises and to inspect, search and seize evidence and permitting authorised inspectors to arrest people suspected of committing offences