Bandar Kuching MP Wants To Repeal Suicide Law

Dr Kelvin Yii says there is no evidence incarceration deters suicide attempts.

KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 – Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said he would propose to decriminalise attempted suicide when Dewan Rakyat meets next month.

Free Malaysia Today reported the DAP lawmaker from Sarawak as saying that he would also form a caucus with other MPs to address mental health issues, including getting insurance companies to cover mental illness treatment.

“We all have a collective responsibility to foster wellness, and to look out for one another in order to address this important issue,” Dr Yii was quoted saying.

He added that there was no evidence incarceration deterred suicide attempts.

“Putting them in jail may increase that risk.”

Section 309 of the Penal Code punishes attempted suicide with one year’s jail, or a fine, or both.

Dr Yii cited the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2011 that found the highest suicidal ideation among those aged 16 to 24 at 2.4 per cent.

The overall prevalence of suicide ideation, plan, and attempt respectively were 1.7 per cent, 0.9 per cent, and 0.5 per cent respectively.

“These behaviours are associated with the females, younger age groups, and fewer years of formal education and either single or widowed. With regards to the Indians, the prevalence is much higher for suicide ideation, plan and attempt,” said the 2011 survey.

A 16-year-old from Batu Kawah, Kuching, allegedly killed herself last month after majority of her followers on Instagram voted death on a poll she ran asking if she should choose death or life.

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