Council: Stop treating those attempting suicide as criminals

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - The law must be amended to stop treating people attempting suicide as criminals. Instead, they should be given mental health support and advice, says the Health Ministry's Mental Health Promotion Advisory Council.

Council member Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the Government should review Section 309 of the Penal Code, which states that anyone found guilty of attempting suicide faces up to a year in jail or a fine or both.

"The rationale for the preservation of this antiquated law is that its removal may encourage more suicide attempts.

"Yet, to date, no data or case-reports indicate that de-criminalisation (of suicide) increases suicide cases," he said at the launch of the 'One World Connected: Working Together to Prevent Suicide' forum at the UEM Learning Centre in Jalan Templer here yesterday.

Lee said the Government need to heed the call by the World Health Organisation to review the legal stand by countries on suicide and to move towards de-criminalising suicides.

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