Police raid clinics, homes, & arrest three people after Al Jazeera's baby-selling documentary
Doha-based broadcaster, Al Jazeera reported last night that their baby-selling expose documentary has lead to the arrest of three individuals in Malaysia.
The Malaysian authorities arrested the woman who was shown trying to sell a baby to the Al Jazeera's undercover journalists, her son and a medical assistant who works at a private clinic.
Senior Assistant Commissioner Rohaimi Md Isa told Al Jazeera that all three may be charged under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act if convicted.
"The operation is still ongoing," said Rohaimi, informing the journalists that the police will arrest more people if they are suspected to be involved in this baby-selling racket.
30 NOVEMBER: Police questioned Al Jazeera's journalist for viral baby-selling documentary
The Malay Mail Online reported today, 30 November that the police have recorded the statement from the local Al Jazeera journalist that worked on 101 East's Malaysia: Babies For sale documentary that was aired on Thursday, 24 November.
"Immediately after the article was out, we had summoned her and we understand why they did the article and she gave us good cooperation," said the IGP at a press conference at the police headquarters in Bukit Aman today.
Al Jazeera published a documentary that depicted the seriousness of baby-selling in Malaysia. It revealed how a network of people including doctors, government officials and traffickers have been running the baby-selling racket in Malaysia.
While members of the public were very receptive about the documentary, the IGP denied vehemently that baby-selling is very easy in Malaysia.
28 NOVEMBER: Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar have denied that Malaysia is a hot bed for the baby selling trade.
This comes after Qatar's international news channel Al Jazeera published a documentary on how babies are sold in Malaysia on Thursday, 24 November.
While agreeing that there are baby selling activities in Malaysia, Khalid said that it was not accurate to say that it is as easy and common in the country to sell babies, as reported by Al Jazeera.
He said that the police have been keeping an eye out for such activities, citing the establishment of organisations like the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (ATIPSOM) Unit in 2008 and the Sexual, Women and Children's Investigation Division (D11) of the Criminal Investigation Department.
Khalid reinforced his statement by saying that the police arrested six people who were involved in a baby selling syndicate back in 2010, including a doctor, three nurses, a government servant and another individual.
"Police, with the cooperation of other ministries and agencies, have been consistent in its actions to put an end to trafficking in women and children, and has always made it its top priority," he said, stressing that the police will conduct investigations on the issues raised by the Al Jazeera documentary.
Responding to Al Jazeera's shocking revelation, the National Registration Department (NRD) said that they will be taking "stern" actions if they find any of their officers involved in the baby selling syndicate
NRD director-general Mohd Yazid Ramli said that they take such matters very seriously and that there will be no compromise if NRD officers are proven to be involved in baby selling syndicates.
"Stern action will be taken if the allegations are found to be true," said Mohd Yazid in a statement, yesterday, 27 November, as reported by Bernama.
He went on to stress that NRD does not discriminate against anything and registers the birth of every child without any prejudice regardless of the child's status.
"If all the conditions are met and documents submitted upon application are in order and complete, the application can be accepted and processed for a birth certificate to be issued. Once everything is complete and in order, only then will the supervisory officer issue the birth certificate.
"However, if the application is incomplete or does not comply with the procedures, the birth registration will be postponed until the applicant furnishes the department with all the required documents and information. Should there be any doubt, the application will be referred to the Investigation and Enforcement Division for further checks," explained Mohd Yazid.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Datuk Dr S Subramaniam informed that the ministry has started an official investigation against the doctors and healthcare facilities mentioned in the Al Jazeera documentary
If proven guilty, the consequences can be severe for the doctors.
Dr Subramaniam said that the medical professionals will face disciplinary actions carried out by the Malaysian Medical Council which can cause them to lose their medical license. They will be deregistered from the Medical Register under the Medical Act 1971.
"Depending on the result of the investigations, actions will be taken accordingly towards the doctors and healthcare facilities," added Dr Subramaniam, as reported by the Malay Mail Online yesterday, 27 November 2016.
The health minister also spoke about the importance of medical officers complying and abiding by the standards required by the noble profession, by not getting involved or condoning criminal activities like human trafficking and baby selling.
In the statement, Dr Subramaniam mentioned that all local health facilities and services that fall under it are regulated by the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998 which has a responsibility to ensure that all their practices are legal.
"At the same time, the Ministry is urging the public to help curb this activity, by being more alert and willing to come forward with the relevant information, for further action by the relevant agencies. Thus, the participation of the community to be hand-in-hand with the Ministry in safeguarding the patients’ safety and the quality of our healthcare system is highly appreciated to assist in putting a stop to this dissolute activity," implored Dr Subramaniam.
Agreeing with Dr Subramaniam, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim said that her ministry will give full cooperation to stop all baby selling syndicates in Malaysia
Rohani stressed that Malaysia is completely against the selling of babies and that the authorities will take all the necessary actions to out an end to such criminal activities.
She also informed that the Women, Family, and Community Development Ministry will be chairing a meeting soon to look into all the allegations and evidence about baby selling in Malaysia, brought to light by Al Jazeera's recent documentary.
"The meeting will be attended by representatives from all relevant ministries including the Home Ministry, the Health Ministry, the National Registration Department and the police. The Home Ministry will table a report in connection with the allegation and our ministry will make necessary action based on the outcome.
"We will also invite representatives from the Foreign Affairs Ministry to attend the meeting," said Rohani after closing a leadership seminar in Kuching, yesterday, 27 November.
Calling the Al Jazeera report a "wake-up call" to all, Rohani added that the ministry will also start looking into ways to rescue and shelter these babies that are allegedly involved in this syndicate.
She also reminded members of the public to go the relevant parties and authorities if and when they have any information about matters like this, instead of "running to the media" first.