Singapore health minister has aid that Singapore's Muslims will be covered under the organ donation laws from August 1. The minister believes that this would enlarge the donor pool for its Malay population.
The move "will level the playing field" for Malays, who account for a disproportionate percentage of people on the kidney waiting list, Minister for Health Khaw Boon Wan said during a parliamentary session Monday.
Under an amendment approved by parliament on Monday, Muslims will come under the Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA). The act says that anyone aged 21 to 60 is presumed to have agreed to donate vital organs -- kidneys, heart, liver and corneas -- upon death unless they opt out.
For the past 20 years since the act was passed, Muslims had to opt in but local Islamic authorities last year issued a new edict which made it permissible for Muslims to to be covered under the act, Khaw said.
"It will allow more Muslims to have the same chance as others in obtaining a new lease on life through an organ transplant," the minister said.
Malays, who are predominantly Muslim, constitute 13 percent of Singapore's resident population but made up 21 percent of the people waiting for a kidney last year, he said.