Get rid of suicide attempt law: Fatimah

Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah. Photo: Ramidi Subari

KUCHING: Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah supports the idea of removing suicide attempt as an offence from the Penal Code.

Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah. Photo: Ramidi Subari

The Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister said individuals who want to commit suicide should be helped instead of being prosecuted.

“They attempt to end their lives because they feel there is no point in living. Their feel their burden is too heavy and that no one can help them,” she said, adding that they were also victims of situations that they were in.

“However, under the existing law, attempting suicide is a criminal offence,” she said to reporters in her office at Baitul Makmur building here, yesterday.

She was addressing calls to remove the offence from the Penal Code after a disabled (OKU) Terengganu man who attempted suicide was sentenced to six months’ jail.

The 38-year-old was charged under Section 309 of the Penal Code which states that anyone who commits suicide can be jailed or fined or both.

Fatimah opined that the bigger concern is to find ways of helping persons who want to commit suicide instead of adding to their burden.

“We should see the problem from his point of view and help him to end his despair. At a certain point of time, some people can feel like there is no solution to their problems, but actually there is.

“So, we should help them through counseling, psychiatric treatment, assistance and so on. The point is what can be achieved by punishing them? Can that solve their problems?” she asked.

She believes that the existing law might make suicide attempters feel discouraged, but when a person wants to attempt suicide, he or she don’t think of the law anymore.

On Monday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong stated that the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) is actively studying ways of abolishing the law concerned.