The Home Ministry and Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) have both agreed to abolish the Section 309 of the Penal Code that criminalises the act of attempt suicide, said the Deputy Health Minister II Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang.
He said this during the Ministers’ Question Time in the Parliament session yesterday (7 October), adding that the matter will be brought to the cabinet.
“Suicide cases under Section 309, which states that attempting suicide is an offence, have been a topic of discussion for a long time, and the process (of abolition) is under way.
“I understand that the Home Ministry and AGC have agreed to abolish Section 309 related to suicide attempts, and now, the matter will be brought to the cabinet.
“Amendments will be made to Section 309 so that those who attempt to commit suicide will not be found guilty.” he said, as reported by The Vibes.
With this, the act of attempt suicide will not be a punishable offence under the laws of Malaysia.
In case you didn’t know, attempting suicide is currently considered a crime in Malaysia and if the attempt failed, these individuals will be treated as criminals.
“Peringkat sekarang ialah untuk dibawa ke Kabinet dan seterusnya pindaan kepada Seksyen 309 supaya mereka yang bunuh diri atau cubaan bunuh diri tidak akan disabitkan kesalahan lagi.” – Timb Menteri Kesihatan 2#SisiTVParlimen#DewanRakyat#AWANInews pic.twitter.com/0sbFeu48pZ— 🇲🇾Astro AWANI🇲🇾 (@501Awani) October 7, 2021
The Section 309 of the Penal Code states that those who are unsuccessful in their suicide attempt could face charges and penalties amounting to imprisonment of up to a year, or a fine, or both.
With the latest developments, the act may soon be amended to decriminalise suicide attempts.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the AGC is examining the legal options and implications of the decriminialisation, and he also called for a holistic approach on the issue of suicide.
He added that the Health Ministry already has mental health support in place to improve mental well-being of the citizens and to reduce the rate of suicides.
“We have developed a Strategic National Mental Health Plan (2020-2025), which was launched on 10 October in conjunction with World Mental Health Day. It outlines clear strategies to prevent suicidal behaviour issues, and focuses on collaboration between government agencies, the private sector and NGOs.” he said.
In addition, the Health Ministry has a psychosocial support helpline in collaboration with NGOs to increase access to mental health services for the public, and assist individuals in need of support during the pandemic.
“We have strengthened mental health programmes at the community level through services at clinics, covering promotional activities and early detection through screening to detect early levels of stress, anxiety and depression, as well as individuals at risk of mental health problems, and intervention measures.” Ismail said.
Nonetheless, this is a huge step forward towards understanding those who suffered greatly to the extend that they are willing to take their lives.
What do you think about this? Share your thoughts!