“This is a bill about fairness, being fair to donors who do suffer financial consequences as a result of their act of donation,” Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan told parliament Tuesday during the final debate on the issue.
“I know the controversial nature of paying donors,” Khaw Singapore said.
“But we also realize that it is unfair to allow genuine donors to bear all the financial consequences of their altruistic acts.”
The new law allows living organ donors to be reimbursed the costs for travel, accommodation, costs of domestic care and child care, loss of income and long-term medical care.
The controversial bill passed last week.
Legislator Christopher de Souza objected the new law, saying "the framework in the bill could be the subject of abuse."
Another dissenter, Halimah Yacob, said that many foreign workers in Singapore, who are hit hard by the recession, could become "a ready and vulnerable pool of organ donors to be exploited and abused."
"To a desperate foreign worker, even a reimbursement of S$10,000 would be attractive compared to going home empty-handed with a huge debt waiting for him," the report quoted her as saying.
The Singapore government proposed to change the law after ailing retail magnate Tang Wee Sung was jailed for a day and fined S$17,000 in June last year for trying to buy a kidney from an Indonesian donor.
Tang finally received a kidney from former organized crime boss Tan Chor Jin, who was hanged in a Singapore prison in December for the killing of a nightclub owner.
The case prompted the government to amend the law to allow living organ donators to get monetary compensation.
Khaw said hospital panels set up to assess the fitness of the donors and review payments made to them will ensure that there are no financial inducements involved in people giving up a kidney, just reimbursement of the costs involved.