Health Ministry preparing new draft for abolishment of Section 309 of Penal Code

PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry (MOH) will prepare a new Cabinet memorandum relating to the application to abolish Section 309 of the Penal Code (Act 574) to decriminalise suicide attempts as proposed by the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC).

Its Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, said the ministry has received a report of the study conducted by the AGC regarding decriminalisation of suicide attempts.

He said the results of the study will be discussed in an engagement session with stakeholders, including the Home Ministry, the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM), the Malaysian Armed Forces and the AGC to be included in the draft before being presented at the Cabinet meeting.

"When I brought this up before, it seemed like the Home Ministry did not really agree. We will see how they can be persuaded to support our efforts to decriminalise suicide attempts,” he told the media after presenting funds for mental health programmes to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) here on Friday (Sept 30).

The previous memorandum was an effort to decriminalise suicide attempts and to abolish or amend Section 309 of the Penal Code that lists these acts as criminal offences.

Under Section 309, those found attempting suicide can be jailed up to a year or fined or both, Khairy said, adding that whether the amendments to the Act would be tabled at the next Parliament session would depend on the decision of the Cabinet when he tabled the matter for discussion.

Meanwhile, he said his ministry had submitted applications in the Budget 2023 for the government to increase allocations for mental health, counselling and psychosocial programmes by 2.5% from this year’s allocation of RM408.58mil. - Bernama

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