Suicide and attempted suicide are criminalised in Malaysia, but is that the right reaction to such an emotional upheaval?
‘No matter how much pressure you are facing, suicide is not a solution. Now that you’re out of the hospital, you must be charged in court. You must know that attempting suicide is a crime.’
These were the words uttered to an unemployed 24-year-old, Yew Kah Sin, who had the burden of her mother’s lung cancer treatment riding on her back as the courts sentenced her to a fine of RM2,000 or three months’ imprisonment after she tried killing herself early of 2017. Sad as it is to admit, ‘suicide’ has become a common term to read in the papers today as many attempt to end a beginning they have yet to see out of blind desperation. The current legislation, however, seems to deal with these recurring cases by punishing those who attempt to commit suicide with fines or terms of imprisonment. On this matter, Hannah Yeoh, the Minister of Deputy Women, Community and Family Development recently claimed that the criminalisation of suicide is archaic and should be reviewed. This article aims to explain the legal position of Malaysia on suicide and the differing views on whether such a position should remain in today’s society.