The parliamentary process to decriminalise attempted suicide was completed with the passing of the third and final bill on the matter in the Dewan Negara yesterday.
The Mental Health (Amendment) Bill 2023 passed yesterday is aimed at empowering crisis intervention officers to undertake the apprehension of individuals who try to commit suicide.
The day before, two other related bills – the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill (No. 2) 2023 and Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill (No. 2) 2023 – were also approved by the Dewan Negara.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Ramkarpal Singh wound up the debate on the three bills related to the decriminalisation of suicide attempts.
The bills were tabled for a first reading in the Dewan Rakyat by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Azalina Othman Said on April 4 and approved on May 22.
In a statement, Ramkarpal said the three bills needed the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in accordance with Article 66 of the Federal Constitution.
"They will then be gazetted in the government gazette before coming into force," he added.
He said pending the completion of this process, a moratorium on the implementation of Section 309 of the Penal Code would remain in force, and that no prosecution could be conducted under this section for attempted suicide.
Ramkarpal expressed his appreciation to all quarters including the MPs who had given their full support to this effort, which he said would change the approach towards suicide attempts from punitive to one that is treatment-based.