THE Dewan Rakyat has passed the amendments to the Mental Health Act (Amendment) 2023.
The amendments were made following the decriminalisation of suicide under the Penal Code (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2023.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Legal and Institutional Reforms) Ramkarpal Singh said the amendments comprises two clauses, which were the short title and the commencement of the Act, as well as substitution of Section 11 that empowers crisis intervention officers.
“The amendments on the Mental Health Act 2001 or Act 561 was intended following the decriminalisation of suicide attempts under the Penal Code (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2023 that has been passed on Monday.
“The move to manage the matter is important to ensure that enforcement aspects could be implemented for the sake of suicidal individuals,” he said yesterday.
According to the Act, any crisis intervention officer will be empowered to apprehend any person if they suspect they are committing self-harm, damaging property or attempting to commit suicide.
The crisis intervention officers are also empowered to enter any premises if necessary, in exercising the powers which includes the authority to break into premises.
“Subsequently, the crisis intervention officer shall bring the apprehended person to a government psychiatric hospital or a gazetted private psychiatric hospital not later than 24 hours after the apprehension for examination.
“This amendment is consequential to the deletion of Section 309 of the Penal Code (Act 574),” Ramkarpal said.
Crisis intervention officers would comprise officers from agencies such as the police, the Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency, the Fire and Rescue Department, the Civil Defence Department and Welfare Department.