KUALA LUMPUR: Less than one percent of the country’s 30 million population, or 258,192 people, has pledged to become organ donors.
Of this amount, 56 percent are women, National Organ Donation Public Awareness Action Committee chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye revealed.
Among the reasons that hold people back from pledging as donors are fear, religion restrictions, family objection, lack of awareness as well as support from medical professionals.
"The number of people who pledged to become organ donors is approximately 0.8 percent, out of the total population. This is the main challenge for our committee which strives to get more people to pledge," he said of the data collected up to June this year.
"All these excuses and misconceptions that prevent people from pledging to be organ donors should be dispelled. For example, even the Fatwa Committee National Council of Islamic Religious Affairs has encouraged organ donation," he told Astro AWANI.
In their bid to increase awareness and pledges, the committee will launch a campaign 'One Pledge, A Million Hopes' at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman soon.
"We will get volunteers from NGOs and individuals by doing walkabouts. Our approach will be different this time and we hope the youth will support this campaign," said Lee.
He also revealed that Selangor recorded the most number of pledges, with 20.68 percent or 53,405 people, followed by Kuala Lumpur Federal Territories (30,112), Johor (47,824), Penang (32,805), Perak (28,333) and Negeri Sembilan (11,220).
"We hope the number will increase. We have seen positive developments from month to month."
Meanwhile, since 1976 until Jan 31 this year, only 446 organ donors have been registered in the country.
"We have about 18,000 people waiting for a kidney. And another 26,000 more waiting for other much-needed organs in the country," Lee added.
Overall, 128,885 of the organ pledges were Chinese, 60,488 were Indians, 59,821 were Malays, 8,903 were of others races and 65 were not specified.
The Malay pledges, he said, has increased a lot over the years.
"In 2005, only 1,658 organ pledges were Malay. It has since increased to 59,821 up till June this year."