MP: “Independent investigation needed on baby-snatching claims at Sabah hospital”

A DAP leader has called for a transparent and independent investigation into the shocking revelations of infants of stateless mothers in a Sabah hospital being forcibly taken away or given up for adoption against their will.

According to Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii, there should not be any compromise on the matter and such independent investigation is important to get to the bottom of this matter and hold those responsible accountable regardless their positions and standing.

The DAP lawmaker was referring to a recent report by a news portal on Sept 15 titled “Baby snatching: How stateless mums lose their infants in Sabah hospital” where it was alleged that newborn babies born to stateless women admitted in the neonatal intensive care unit are given away without their mothers’ consent.

“While the Sabah health department on Saturday (Sept 16) did lodge a police report denying allegations that babies were being snatched in the state’s public hospitals, the timing of the report and the speed of the ‘internal investigation’ being that the report was made a day after the news was reported raised a lot of questions and cast doubts on the independence of such an internal investigation,” Dr Yii noted in a statement today (Sept 19).

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

Dr Yii said this was why he welcomed the Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa’s stand in Parliament that there will not be a compromise on this matter.

Dr Zaliha had said earlier today in Parliament that her ministry would look into the police report that the Sabah health department had lodged to deny the allegations.

She also welcomed the independent investigation, and had even suggested to personally look into the matter by talking to the staff and even patients involved to get to the bottom of the matter.

“Such independent investigation must involve cross-ministry officers to properly address this systemic issue as it does not only involve the Health Ministry,” Dr Yii remarked.

“They must also look into possibilities whether it had happened in other hospitals to the most vulnerable, especially to the undocumented.

“We must look into the root of the issue to prevent the possibility of a generation of stolen children in our hospitals across the country and more importantly, to make sure that no mothers have to go through such a tragic ordeal to be forcefully separated and deprived of their newborn child.”

Last week, Sabah state health director Dr Asits Sanna said the department had immediately launched an investigation following the publication of the report.

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. – Sept 19, 2023


Main pic credit: Facebook/Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen 俞利

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