KUALA LUMPUR: DAP’s Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii has questioned the government’s lack of urgency in repealing a provision in criminal law punishing those attempting suicide.
He said the written reply he received from Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of legal affairs Takiyuddin Hassan on decriminalising attempted suicide was “similar” to the one he received few months ago.
“Since the movement control order was imposed, we have seen an increase in the number of mental health cases as many people are unable to cope with the poor economic situation.
“A total of 78 attempted suicide cases were reported between March and June this year, compared with 64 cases during the same period last year,” Yii said at a press conference at Parliament today.
Takiyuddin, in his reply on Monday, said the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) was still conducting research into amending Sections 309 and 306 of Penal Code that penalised those who tried to take their lives and those who abetted in suicide attempts.
He said the AGC was meeting stakeholders currently.
Yii said the authorities should not treat attempted suicide patients as “criminals” but provide them with support.
“Please show some urgency because suicide cases are on the rise,” he said.
He said there was no evidence to show that the number of attempted suicides would increase when provisions punishing such attempts were repealed.
“We have seen 59 countries repeal their laws on suicide and there was no increase in cases,” he said.
Former minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong, who passed away recently, had said in December last year that amendments to decriminalise suicide could be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat by June. – FMT