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AGC considering decriminalisation of attempted suicide in favour of medical treatment
Published on: Friday, December 04, 2020
By: Malay Mail
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The Attorney General’s Chambers is considering proposals to remove attempted suicide from the criminal justice system and place those who have tried to kill themselves in the healthcare system to receive the appropriate treatment. — AFP pic
Kuala Lumpur: The Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) is mulling the idea of sending those who have attempted suicide to seek therapy at medical facilities, instead of treating them as criminals, the government has said.

In a written parliamentary reply on December 2, the Prime Minister’s Department said the government had via the AGC taken the initiative to study laws related to attempted suicide and abetment of such attempts, which are both currently criminal offences in Malaysia.

The Prime Minister’s Department said the AGC had taken this initiative due to statistics up to 2015 showing the growing number of attempted suicides across all ages, noting that a more holistic approach was required.

The AGC’s study covered two parts: The first focused on the criminal offence of attempting suicide under Section 309 of the Penal Code, while the second focused on the offence of abetment of suicide under Sections 305 and 306 of the Penal Code.

“At this time, the first part of this study is at the stage of talks with stakeholders.

“The Attorney General’s Chambers is also considering proposals from stakeholders to remove attempted suicide from the criminal justice system and place those who have tried to kill themselves in the healthcare system to receive the appropriate treatment,” the written parliamentary reply said.

“The study also looks at the comparison of the provision of laws in the UK, New Zealand, India and Singapore regarding attempted suicide,” it added.

The Prime Minister’s Department was responding to Merbok MP Nor Azrina Surip’s request for the prime minister to state the government’s progress in efforts to decriminalise attempted suicide via amending or abolishing Section 309 of the Penal Code, which she said punishes those who are thwarted with imprisonment or a fine, or both.

Under Section 309, the penalty is a maximum one-year jail term or a fine, or both for whoever attempts suicide and does any act towards it.

Section 305 punishes anyone who abets a suicide — of a child aged under 18 or insane or an intoxicated person — with the death penalty or a maximum 20-year jail term and a fine, while Section 306 punishes anyone who abets a suicide with a maximum 10-year jail term and a fine.

Yesterday, the Health Ministry in a written parliamentary reply to Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh said there have been 465 cases of attempted suicide reported and who received treatment at the Health Ministry’s hospitals from January to July 2020.

The ministry, however, also noted that these figures refer to cases which received treatment at the ministry’s hospitals only, further saying that these were not caused by the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact alone.

The ministry said its Health Informatics Centre recorded 9,502 cases of mental disorders and suicidal behaviour from January to July 2020, and 14,673 of such cases in January to July 2019.

The ministry also said it had on May 21 presented a proposal paper to develop the National Suicide and Fatal Injury Registry Malaysia to the Prime Minister’s Department’s Economic Planning Unit, and that the project has been listed with a RM4.2 million allocation in the 2021 Rolling Plan 1 of the 12th Malaysia Plan.

* If you are lonely, distressed, or having negative thoughts, You Are Not Alone. Befrienders KK offers free and confidential support from 7pm to 10pm daily at 088-255 788, WhatsApp at 016-803 6945 and email at [email protected]



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