THREE DAP elected representatives have urged the Government to bring up the decriminalisation of attempted suicide in the Penal Code amendments at the upcoming Dewan Rakyat session.
“We urge the federal government to make this matter a priority and possibly table the amendments during the next Parliamentary session,” FMT reported Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii, Subang Jaya assemblywoman Michelle Ng and Kampung Tunku assemblywoman Lim Yi Wei as saying in a joint statement today.
The trio demanded the Government put an end to its archaic suicide law and repeal Section 309 of the Penal Code as soon as possible.
Under Section 309, a person who attempts to commit suicide may be punished with imprisonment for up to a year, a fine, or both upon conviction.
The trio recommended enforcing a moratorium on all prosecutions for suicide attempts. They added that the bill may be tabled first and enhancements to the law may come after.
According to the trio, this is because attempted suicide charges are still being brought even as studies on the substituting laws are being carried out.
Dr Yii, Ng, and Lim emphasised that in cases of attempted suicide, the Government may instruct the police to use their authority under Section 10 of the Mental Health Act to admit the individual to a psychiatric hospital should there be any concern that a lacuna (no admissible law) would exist upon repeal.
“A national suicide registry should also be set up immediately to formulate targeted measures to address the rising suicide rate.”
Moreover, they cited data from the Government which showed 902 cases of attempted suicide were prosecuted between 2018 and June 2021.
Furthermore, in Oct 2021, former deputy health minister Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang told the Dewan Rakyat that the move to decriminalise attempted suicide had started but required some adjustments to the Penal Code.
However, in March 2022, it was announced that the proposal to amend the Penal Code and decriminalise attempted suicide was still being studied by the Attorney-General’s Chambers. – Dec 23, 2022