KJ: Decriminalising suicide bids up to Cabinet, Home Ministry and cops' input also crucial

PUTRAJAYA: The decriminalisation of suicide attempts hinges on the Cabinet's decision, says Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

It also depends on whether or not the Home Ministry can be influenced to support efforts to decriminalise the deed, he added.

He said the Health Ministry had submitted a memorandum for a moratorium on the prosecution and conviction involving attempted suicides to the Cabinet earlier.

ALSO READ: KJ: Increase in suicides and mental health issues troubling, prompt action needed

The memorandum is in an effort to decriminalise suicide attempts and to defer or repeal sentencing of the offence under Section 309 of the Penal Code until amendments to the law are made.

However, the Cabinet was of the view that the matter would have to be finalised at the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) before the government makes a decision, Khairy said.

Speaking to reporters after handing over funds to mental health NGOs at the ministry on Wednesday (Sept 28), Khairy said a report on the AGC's study of the matter has been received.

ALSO READ: Community responses for suicide prevention

Its results will be discussed in an engagement session with stakeholders, including the Home Ministry and the police, he added.

"In this session we will also review the memorandum that has been prepared to be brought to the Cabinet meeting.

"We need the views of the police and the Home Ministry.

"When I brought up the memorandum they did not seem to agree much, so we will see if they can be influenced to support efforts to decriminalise suicide attempts.

ALSO READ: Health Ministry waiting for AGC feedback on decriminalising suicide

"Whether or not the amendments will be done in the next Parliament session will depend on the Cabinet," Khairy added.

Under Section 309 of the Penal Code, whoever attempts to commit suicide can be jailed up to one year, fined, or both.

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