No discrimination in health services, D-G says after LGBT outcry

Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the Health Ministry does not discriminate against anyone regardless of their religion, ethnicity, sexual identity or preference. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the Health Ministry does not discriminate against anyone regardless of their religion, ethnicity, sexual identity or preference. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 — The Health Ministry does not discriminate against anyone regardless of their religion, ethnicity, sexual identity or preference, its director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah asserted today.

He made clear the ministry does not condone any form of discrimination after a Facebook user who claimed to be a doctor triggered debate over blood donations from members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.

“The Health Ministry upholds the principle of non-discrimination on religion, race or social group in delivering its health services,” Dr Noor Hisham tweeted today.

Last week, Facebook user Nur Ilyani Mohamed Nawawi, who touted herself a doctor, wrote an open letter addressed to Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) patron Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir and claimed that blood from LGBT donors to be tainted with HIV and other transmissible diseases.

Nur Ilyani’s post was later deleted by Facebook for violating community guidelines, but not before it triggered a heated discussion over the issue.

Several doctors immediately condemned the Facebook post, clarifying that all blood donations undergo testing regardless of their origins and that the medical industry does not practise discrimination against any social community.

Marina, the daughter of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, came under spotlight recently after she requested her portrait for the “Stripes and Strokes” photo exhibition at the ongoing George Town Festival in Penang to be removed, in solidarity with two LGBT activists Nisha Ayub and Pang Khee Teik whose portraits were taken down under order from the federal Pakatan Harapan government.  

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