1. GOVT SHOULD ABOLISH LAWS CRIMINALISING SUICIDE ATTEMPTS
The government should review the Penal Code on the criminalisation of suicide and consider abolishing Section 309 of the same code which states that it is an offence to commit such an act.
Mental Health Advisory Council member Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the laws should be abolished for the simple reason that those involved should not be punished as criminals as they are suffering in silence from mental illness such as depression.
He added that those who suffer in silence must instead be given psychiatric treatment and rehabilitation.
He said this when asked about Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii’s plan to push for the decriminalization of attempted suicide and the extension of insurance coverage for mental illness in Parliament next month.
Lee commended Dr Yii for his initiative, but cautioned that the issue of decriminalization had been brought up in the past, with no action taken by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Dr Yii said the push for decriminalization of suicide was crucial to address the growing concern on mental health issues and suicide incidences in the country, following three suicide cases and one case of attempted suicide reported in Sarawak in the past month alone.
2. MMA PRESIDENT SUGGESTS WAYS TO REDUCE SUICIDE
On another note, Miri Malay Association president Razali Alision said amending the law on suicide, such as decriminalizing suicide itself, may not help reduce the incidence of suicide and may even lead to more of such incidences.
He added the penalties or sentences of suicide attempts should be reviewed to take into consideration the cause of the attempted suicide.
He explained that mandatory counselling should be considered instead of monetary penalties for most cases, in-depth studies on general causes of suicidal behaviors should be conducted, and support groups must be made available to all.
According to him, the pressures of everyday life such as unemployment, ever-rising cost of living, the widening gap between salary increases and inflation, unreasonable expectation in education achievement, work and peer pressure must be addressed seriously by parliamentarians.
He urged the federal government to make Malaysia a happier place to study, work, and live – which should be everyone’s target.