Decriminalise suicide in Malaysia now

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TW: Suicide

Ideating or attempting suicide is most often a sign of a serious mental health condition or severe mental distress. Instead of punishing people who attempt suicide, we must help them access the support and services they desperately need. 

Currently in Malaysia, attempted suicide is still considered a crime. Under Penal Section Code 309, "whoever attempts to commit suicide, and does any act towards the commission of such offence, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine or with both."

Though not often enforced, its use is not unheard of. On Tuesday (Aug 4), the Magistrate's Court issued a RM3,000 fine to an unemployed 28-year-old man who had attempted to commit suicide last week. Deputy Public Prosecutor Nurilya Ellyna Nor Azmal asked the court to impose an appropriate sentence "as a lesson...because he had inconvenienced many parties" [1]. 

As we've seen on Tuesday, the criminalisation of suicide punishes those who need help and prevents them from getting the support they need. We urge our Members of Parliament and AG Tan Sri Idrus Harun to immediately repeal Penal Section Code 309. In its place, we suggest that mandatory counselling & psychological services are made available to the people who need it the most. 

Ten Malaysians die by suicide every day [2]. We cannot let this go on. Decriminalising suicide is an important step in breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health and ensuring a society where we are able to access support without fear of judgement, discrimination, or punishment. Studies from countries who have already decriminalised suicide, including Canada and New Zealand, have shown that suicides did not increase post-decriminalisation. [3] 

#DecriminaliseSuicideNow

[1] https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/08/04/court-fines-man-rm3k-for-suicide-attempt

[2] https://relate.com.my/why-get-help-2/suicide-in-malaysia/

[3] https://www.umlawreview.com/lex-in-breve/suicide-a-tragedy-or-a-crime

*If you need to, please call Befrienders (24hours) at 03-76272929 for free, confidential emotional support. The world needs you and you are enough.