Sun, 1 Oct 2023


Health ministry to probe baby-snatching report in Lahad Datu
Published on: Tuesday, September 19, 2023
By: FMT, Anne Muhammad
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Health ministry to probe baby-snatching report in Lahad Datu
A report last week claimed that newborn babies were being snatched from their stateless mothers at a government hospital in Sabah. (Photo: Freepik via FMT)
PETALING JAYA: The health ministry will investigate claims that newborn babies had been “snatched” from their stateless mothers at a government hospital in Sabah and given up for adoption.

Health minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa told the Dewan Rakyat that such incidents should not happen at any medical facility in the country.

She said the ministry would look into the police report which the Sabah health department had lodged to deny the allegations. The department did this after its internal investigation found no such incident at any government hospital in the state.

Zaliha said her team would meet the officers at the hospital to gather more information on the matter.

“There needs to be empathy when we carry out our healthcare-related duties,” she said.

Zaliha was responding to a question from Dr Kelvin Yii (PH-Bandar Kuching) who wanted an explanation regarding the alleged incidents.

Last week, Sabah state health director Dr Asits Sanna said the department had immediately launched an investigation after Malaysiakini published a report titled “Baby snatching: How stateless mums lose their infants in Sabah hospital”.

He said the department found the allegation to be false and that it had lodged a police report at the Lahad Datu police headquarters as the incidents purportedly occurred at a hospital there.

'No compromise'

Meanwhile, in a statement, Yii said the timing of the Sabah health department’s police report and the speed of its internal investigation did not reflect well on the department.

He said an independent investigation was needed to “get to the bottom of this” and hold those responsible accountable, regardless of their position or standing.

“While I do not question the professionalism of many of the health workers within the health department, it is normal that doubts are raised on the fairness of such an investigation – especially if it could possibly implicate themselves.”

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