Govt focused on providing treatment to those who attempt suicide, says Azalina


PUTRAJAYA: The government is focused on ensuring that individuals with mental problems, including suicidal tendencies, are given treatment rather than punishment, says Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Legal and Institutional Reform) said Section 309 of the Penal Code, involving provision for punishing those who attempted suicide was repealed last year to encourage those who attempted suicide to seek medical treatment.

She said they no longer have to fear that they will be subjected to criminal action, charged, arrested or investigated.

"This shows that the Madani government is moving from taking a punitive approach to a rehabilitative approach.

"The decriminalisation of attempted suicide is a critical step taken by the Madani government to prevent people from committing suicide," she said in her speech at the Webinar Sinar Ramadan programme, with the title "Decriminalisation of Suicide" here Friday (March 22).

The text of the speech was read out by the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law and Institutional Reform) M. Kula Segaran.

Azlina said without the fear of facing legal action, those who attempted suicide would have a better chance of getting treatment.

"This will reduce the number of suicide attempts in the future," she said, adding that the Unity Government, through the Legal Aid Department, will always intensify efforts not only to deliver but also to enhance public awareness about mental health.

Those suffering from mental health issues or contemplating suicide can reach out to the Mental Health Psychosocial Support Service (03-2935 9935 or 014-322 3392); Talian Kasih (15999 or 019-261 5999 on WhatsApp); Jakim’s Family, Social and Community care centre (011-1959 8214 on WhatsApp); and Befrienders Kuala Lumpur (03-7627 2929, go to www.befrienders.org.my/centre-in-malaysia for a full list of numbers and operating hours, or email sam@befrienders.org.my. - Bernama

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