Call to repeal law that punish individuals who attempt suicide


KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Psychiatric Association has called on the government to repeal Section 309 of the Penal Code that provides punishment for an attempted act of suicide. Its vice-president, Associate Professor Dr Muhammad Muhsin Ahmad Zahari, said punishment and threat of vindication by law not only keep people in crisis away from seeking the much needed help but could potentially worsen their suffering. “Individuals who attempted suicide or self-harm are in duress and at their most vulnerable, and most of them see it as an end to suffering,” he said in a statement today. Dr Muhammad Muhsin said instead of spending money prosecuting those who have attempted suicide, a better investment in the nation’s mental health and National Suicide Prevention Strategy would go a long way towards preventing suicide. This would include reducing access to the means of suicide, responsible media reporting, reducing stigma, investment in treatment and providing follow up care as well as community support to people who have attempted suicide. The 2017 Malaysian National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) reported that nearly seven percent of Malaysian adolescents have attempted suicide. — BERNAMA © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd