KJ: Pak Lah has dementia

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The government will push for more funds to cater to the public social care of underprivileged dementia patients, says Khairy Jamaluddin.

The announcement came after the Health Minister revealed that his father-in-law, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, fondly known as Pak Lah, who is also Malaysia’s fifth prime minister, suffers from dementia.

“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 to shine a light on dementia and cognitive impairment,” he said in a series of tweets on Sunday (Sep 11).

Pak Lah does not recognise his family members anymore, according to Khairy.

He said his 82-year-old father-in-law started showing signs of cognitive impairment shortly after retiring as the fifth prime minister in 2009 and has progressively worsened since then.

“I have never shared this before. Many asked where is Pak Lah? He has dementia and that is why you do not see him in public anymore. It is a cruel condition. The body is there but the mind is not. He is wheelchair-bound.

Bernama

“He cannot function normally anymore. He does not remember my name, my wife’s name. The only reason I know he recognises me is through the flicker in his eye when I visit him.

“There are more bad days than good. So have him in your prayers and we hope for better days ahead,” Khairy was quoted as saying.

He said prior to his decision to share about Pak Lah’s condition today, he had asked his wife, Nori Abdullah, and his mother-in-law, Tun Jeanne Abdullah, if it was okay to tell people about it.

Khairy said Pak Lah’s condition has declined to the point where he has difficulty speaking.

“For us, of course, the management of his care is challenging. I see how my mother-in-law Aunty Jean (Tun Jeanne), struggles because dementia is not just about the patient, but crucially, the caregiver, as it is very difficult for them.

“When dementia patients deteriorate, family members can help, but after a while, it gets difficult as they need round-the-clock care. We are fortunate that we can get professional caregivers,” Khairy said.