PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is suffering from dementia, says health minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
Khairy, who is married to Abdullah’s daughter Nori, said his father-in-law could not remember the names of his wife, Jeanne Abdullah, and other family members.
“Many have been asking where Pak Lah is. Pak Lah has dementia. His condition is deteriorating,” he said, using the nickname by which Abdullah is popularly known.
Khairy was responding to questions at a press conference after attending the launching ceremony for Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG) for Dementia (Third Edition) and Schizophrenia Management (Second Edition) at a hotel here.
“He has reached the point where he is having trouble speaking and has trouble remembering the names of family members.
“We are fortunate as we are able to provide him the necessary support and care by getting him a full-time nurse. Many families cannot afford that.”
He said this was the reason he had proposed that a joint committee be formed with the women, family, and community development ministry to look into providing care for dementia patients. He also stressed that these patients needed nothing less than full-time care.
Khairy added that social care or community-level support can be improved for families that could not afford to hire full-time nurses.
“We can learn from other countries like the United Kingdom and Australia with advanced social care,” he said.
Abdullah served as the fifth prime minister from Oct 2003 until his resignation in 2009. He was also the former MP of Kepala Batas for seven terms, from 1979 until 2013.