A 101 East (an Al Jazeera programme) documentary, titled “Malaysia: Babies For Sale”, has left many Malaysians speechless after its release on Thursday (24th November).
Not only did the 25-minute-long video, which was filmed over a total of 4 months, revealed the shocking truth behind Malaysia’s baby-selling industry, but also the professional personnels (such as doctors, police, and government officials) involved in the underground market.
The video opens with a voiceover, saying, “This lucrative illegal trade is openly advertised on Malaysian social media. Potential buyers can pick from a catalogue of pregnant women.”
In the interview section of the clip, local child’s right activist Hartini Zainudin shared her story on how she accidentally got involved in the heinous business. 8 years ago, she received a call from traffickers in Klang after they had failed to sell a baby to a Malaysian couple because the infant’s skin was “too dark”. The syndicate also informed her that they would take the baby to Thailand for the purpose of begging if she doesn’t buy her for USD3,000. After taking the baby back to Kuala Lumpur, Zainudin reported the crime to the authorities but unfortunately, the traffickers escaped arrest.
Zainudin adopted the baby and named her Zara. She also added that the adoption process in Malaysia is “long, expensive, and emotionally draining”. Though she became Zara’s legal parent after 5 years of waiting, Zara is still not a Malaysian citizenship.
101 East also highlighted that the price of a baby, ranging from RM7,000 to RM10,000, can be determined by 3 aspects:
Gender, skin colour, and race
The investigative then met up with an “agent” known as Bonda (which means mother in Bahasa Malaysia). Using hidden cameras and microphone, the meeting process was recorded and shown in the documentary. According to Bonda, she has dealt with 1,000 pregnant Indonesian women, claiming that she currently houses 78 pregnant women.
The documentary also features video evidences of doctors offering other services such as connecting potential parents to pregnant Malaysians and foreigners, obtaining birth documents from the National Registration Department (JPN), and the delivery of the baby.
“You don’t have to be nervous because we do this on a very regular basis,” said a doctor from Klinik Bersalin Lam under Ghama Medic.
Many netizens claimed that the root of the problem is Malaysia’s complicated adoption process while others blamed illegal immigrants and the lack of law enforcement. In response to the documentary, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar denied that Malaysia is a “hub” for selling babies.
“We do not deny that there are cases of babies for sale in the country, but it was not as simple as portrayed in the documentary and we are constantly monitoring these illicit activities,” he said, adding that the police will take follow up actions based on allegations made in the video.
Watch the full documentary below: