KUALA LUMPUR: The government’s decision to instruct the Attorney General’s Chamber to study the suggestion to decriminalise attempted suicide is timely, according to Mental Health Promotion Advisory Council member and Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) senior vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye (pix).
He said among the provisions that must be looked into is Section 309 of the Penal Code which states that whoever attempts to commit suicide and does any act towards the commission of such offence, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine or both.
“Malaysia is one of the remaining few countries that criminalise suicide. It is understood that Malaysia’s law against suicide is adopted from India but the latter has decriminalised it when its lower house of Parliament had in March last year passed the Mental Healthcare Bill 2016, which does not make suicide a crime.
“The bill considers a suicide survivor to be under extreme stress when committing the act, and he/she should not be punished for it,” he said in a statement today.
Lee said those who had attempted suicide must be given psychiatric treatment and rehabilitation and criminalising depressed or mentally ill person is inhumane, unthinkable and unacceptable.
He also stressed that the government and insurance companies must play their role by ensuring that medical insurance coverage could be extended to cover psychiatric disorders.
Citing Singapore as an example, he added that the initiative is important to help the patients bear the cost of treatment involving mental health.
Last Thursday Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) would be directed to review Section 309 of the Penal Code towards decriminalisation of attempted suicide. - Bernama