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Do study on HIV tests before protesting

BANGI, 23 Dec 2008: Those who are worried about the government’s decision, making it compulsory for Muslims couples who want to get married to undergo testing for HIV, are advised to do studies before objecting to the move.

Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim)’s director-general, Datuk Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz, said the government had done an in-depth study on it before making it compulsory.

He added that state religious authorities had been implementing it in stages since 2001 to the extent that people have started to understand the need for the test.

“We are not deliberately finding problems or increasing our work load. We also consider the rights of people who can become victims through the actions of some people who hide their status (of being HIV positive),” he said when commenting here today on certain organisations who charge that the government’s decision violates human rights.

Wan Mohamad said state religious authorities had also not rejected any application to marry for those who were HIV positive as long as both partners knew of the condition.

He said, for example, up till June this year, seven out of 46 candidates who were HIV positive proceeded with their application to marry. He said last year, 23 out of 103 candidates who were HIV positive did the same, after receiving counselling and education from health experts and religious department officers.

He said if there was anyone who had a suggestion that could have the same impact, or better, in stemming the spread of the virus, Jakim was willing to study it.

Earlier, Wan Mohamad announced that the national-level Ma’al Hijrah 1430 Hijrah celebration would be held on 29 Dec at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre beginning at 9am with the theme Producing Brilliant Muslims.

The celebration will be attended by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Razak, he said.

Wan Mohamad said the Ma’al Hijrah Forum will be held on 28 Dec at the National Mosque beginning at 6.30pm. — Bernama


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