Khairy: Pak Lah suffers from dementia

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 11 — Former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi suffers from dementia, his son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin revealed today.

Khairy, who is also the health minister, tweeted today that his in-laws decided to share Abdullah’s plight in order to shine a light on those with the same condition.

“Pak Lah suffers from dementia. It has been challenging for us to see the deterioration in his cognitive function. Some people are aware but many are not. The family has decided to openly share this partly to shine a light on dementia and cognitive impairment,” said Khairy in a tweet.

Khairy labelled dementia a “cruel” disease, saying that his father-in-law no longer remembers his name nor that of his daughter, Nori, who is Khairy’s wife.

“This is why he is no longer seen in public. Fortunately, we are able to provide professional care. Many others are not able to do so. It’s important for us to invest in social care to support families who have loved ones that require constant care.

“Dementia is cruel. While the body is there the mind isn’t. I see my father-in-law’s condition deteriorating till the point he can’t function normally. He doesn’t remember my name, my wife’s name,” he added.

The Penang-born Abdullah was Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s handpicked successor as prime minister in 2003 until 2009 when he announced his retirement from politics.

Khairy’s tweets on his father-in-law’s health were part of a speech that he made today while addressing the Malaysian Conference of Psychological Medicine and launch for the Clinical Practice Guidelines on the Management of Dementia (3rd Edition) & Management of Schizophrenia (2nd Edition) in Kuala Lumpur.

He said the ministry is in the midst of preparing a Health White Paper to ensure all households caring for dementia patients at home are able to get the necessary healthcare support.

“I hope in the process of drafting the White Paper and Budget 2023 we at the ministry can put forth a strong case so that health care can get a higher allocation,” he was quoted saying in Astro Awani.

In addition, Khairy said the Health Ministry together with the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry are discussing how they can increase provisions for community healthcare so they can help families who need a nurse to take care of a family member with dementia.