Today's letter to Forum by Ms Boey Shee Lai, pointed to the ethical inconsistencies between Minister Khaw's approach to reimbursement and Professor Lee Wei Ling's approach to pay the poor out of their poverty. She is right. Such inconsistencies run through a large part of the discussions on this issue. The definitive distinction between reimbursement for expenses incurred and compensation/payments is extremely difficult to make in people's minds and impossible to legislate. Yet Minister Khaw seems to think it can be done. I hope he is right.
Minister also seems to think that our ethical reputation is so strong that somehow that will protect us. I am not so sure. I think perhaps he confuses lawfulness with ethics. I think we are widely regarded as being a very law abiding people. Ethical? hmmm...I am not so sure ( see 'Are we an ethical society?'). I get the feeling that our brand of ethics is a somewhat ends-justify-the-means type.
Are we able to enforce the laws against 'trading'. I seriously doubt it. The will is not there. Neither the tools. Take the recent Tang Wee Sung case. I got nothing against Mr Tang and I am happy for him that he got his kidney. But the truth is that there is a considerable amount of disquiet about how he obtained his kidney. Almost everyone I talk to felt there had been some off-the-table payment to the donor family. This cannot be proven and I am not saying this is true. But many people view it that way. The point is, if there is some truth in it, can the police act? Do they want to investigate? Did they investigate? Did the MOH investigate? Did they want to? If they did not want to, cannot investigate before the Act was passed, what assurances do we have that they will do a better job now that it has been legalized?
I am keeping all my toes and fingers crossed that Minister Khaw can do what he has promised to do, and that eventually he will do the right thing. The ball now is entirely in his court, and I hope he will keep his eye on that ball.
5 years ago