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‘Corruption!’ BN page cries of RM30 for patients at TPPA rally

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A director of an NGO advocating for those living with HIV is accused of corruption for handing out RM30 per person to patients who attended the anti-Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) rally on Saturday.

Edward Low, who heads Positive Malaysian Treatment Access & Advocacy Group (MTAAG+), is accused of doing so by BN’s Facebook page ‘ Friends of BN ’, after a video shows cash handed out to participants.

“Bribery practised by those who are purportedly fighting for transparency, integrity and against corruption.

“Payment is being distributed to those who attended the rally,” ‘ Friends of BN ’ page captioned the video.

However, Malaysian Aids Council consultant Fifa Rahman explained that the video captured Low distributing RM30 to patients who attended the rally, as “subsistence costs”.

“Really sad that public health advocates are being attacked as corrupt for providing subsistence costs for TPP rally-goers,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

She added that the RM30 distributed was sourced from an organisational grant for public health advocacy.

Slandering HIV patients

“Look at the T-shirts they are wearing, it says ‘HCV positive’. I feel really sorry that these patients are slandered like this.

“For your information, the HCV sofosbuvir medication costs US$84,000 for twelve weeks of treatment,” the activist wrote on her Facebook page.

HCV sufosbuvir is a prescription medicine used with other antiviral medicines to treat chronic hepatitis C infection in adults.

Malaysiakini is contacting Low for his response.

Really sad that public health advocates are being attacked as corrupt for providing subsistence costs for #TPP rally...

Posted by Fifa Rahman on Sunday, January 24, 2016

On Saturday, some 4,000 activists marched in Kuala Lumpur to oppose the TPPA.

MTAAG+ argues that the terms could mean more expensive generic medication, which would make life-saving drugs inaccessible for those living with HIV.

The government has, however, assured that it would not sign the deal if it means pricier medication.

It can only sign the agreement if given the go-ahead by Parliament, which is holding a special sitting on the TPPA this week.

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