KUALA LUMPUR: The number of Muslims pledging to donate their organs has reached a record high.
National Transplant Resource Centre chief national clinical manager Datin Dr Lela Yasmin Mansor said 2,930 individuals pledged to donate their organs from January to March.
Of the number, 42% were Muslim compared with an average of only 19% since organ donation was introduced in 1976.
“The increase is the result of religious bodies actively promoting organ donation,” she said after the launch of an organ donation awareness campaign in taxis yesterday.
Dr Lela said the mufti’s offices had also organised seminars to create awareness and invited the transplant centre to give talks, besides distributing pamphlets addressing religious issues related to organ donation.
The Health Ministry’s Public Awareness Action Committee for Organ and Tissue Donation chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the number of people who pledged to donate their organs upon death had steadily increased from 16,455 in 2009 to 20,085 in 2010 and 28,951 last year.
He reminded pledgers to inform their family members when they decide to donate, as family members had not been aware and had objected in the past.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha, who launched the event, said he had directed the Road Transport Department to initiate talks with the Health Ministry to enable those who wish to donate their organs after death to sign up when renewing their driving licences.
He said Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai had approached him on the matter two months ago, and officers from both sides were studying the technical and legal aspects of the move.
“We want to see if their pledge can be incorporated into the driving licence data,” he said.
Under the Spread Love, Save Lives campaign, 100 taxi drivers from the Sunlight Taxi group of companies would distribute pamphlets and green ribbons to raise awareness of organ donation for a month.