The law allowing cash payments to organ donors has finally been passed in Singapore. There were some objections from some Singaporeans and some PAP MPs, but there was never a doubt the Human Organ Transplant Act will be passed.
Previously, it was illegal for a living donor to be financially compensated for donating his organs and many people fear that the poor may be exploited by rich and desperately ill Singaporeans. The Act is a reaction to the case of retail tycoon Tang Wee Sung last year. Tang was convicted of trying to pay an Indonesian to buy a kidney for a transplant operation. He was jailed one day (actually just a few hours) and fined $17,000 for the offence.
The reason I put Tang’s name here is because of how low his sentence was. What is $17,000 to a tycoon? Since the sentence is so low and the practice is ongoing, I support the Singapore government’s stand on the Human Organ Transplant Act. The practice is already here and it’s almost impossible to stop. It makes more sense then to have rules to regulate the practice.
Is it fair that the rich can exploit the poor? The answer is no, but then we are living in an unfair world to begin with. Would it be fair that we allow people to die by not allowing them to buy organs?
I think the Act is the best answer to a question that has no good answer.