On 6 December, Deputy Minister of Health Datuk Seri Dr. Hilmi Yahaya said that no government doctors were involved in the baby-for-sale racket as claimed by an Al Jazeera documentary recently. He said that such things only involved private confinement homes for mothers.

"I understand that the sale of babies is run by a racket under the guise of protection centres for unwed mothers," he added.

He also said that the cases involving the sale of babies were under the jurisdiction of the police and that the ministry is monitoring several clinics and certain parties believed to be involved in the sale of babies in Malaysia. So far, the police have raided multiple clinics over Klang Valley and Selangor, and have made several arrests - a doctor and clinic operators.

Bonda guarantees no problems after sale of baby

A woman, known as "Bonda" who was arrested, was shown on the documentary, trying to sell a baby to undercover reporters. Her son and a medical assistant who works at a private clinic were also arrested, according to Senior Assistant Commissioner Rohaimi Mohd Isa, from the Royal Malaysian Police's Criminal Investigation Department.

The trio were found to be housing 78 pregnant Indonesian women at various locations across Malaysia. In the documentary, "Bonda" offered to sell a baby for US$1,500 and guaranteed that the birth mothers would not try to find their babies once they were sold.

"I have dealt with over 1,000 Indonesians with no problems," she said. "They never ask where their children go after giving them up."

The three will be charged under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act if found to be guilty.

MOH and MMC seeking to take action against relevant parties

The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) are also seeking to take action against the doctor and clinic operators that are allegedly involved in the sale of babies - if there is sufficient evidence.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr. S. Subramaniam said the doctor and clinic operators arrested, were still under the investigation by the ministry and police.

"My ministry can also take action to suspend or revoke the license of the clinic involved," he added. MIMS

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