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Health ministry preparing new draft for bid to decriminalise suicide attempts

Minister Khairy Jamaluddin says a new Cabinet memorandum will be prepared for the application to abolish Section 209 of the Penal Code.

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Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin. Photo: Bernama
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin. Photo: Bernama

The health ministry 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).

Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said his ministry had received a report of the study conducted by the AGC regarding the decriminalisation of suicide attempts. 

He said the results of the study would be discussed in an engagement session with stakeholders, including the home ministry, police, armed rorces and the AGC, for additions to the draft before it is presented to the Cabinet. 

"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 reporters in Putrajaya today.

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

Under Section 309, those found attempting suicide can be jailed for up to a year, 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 tables the matter for discussion.

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