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Outcry to decriminalise suicide attempt

Ahirul Ahirudin
Written by Ahirul Ahirudin

KUALA LUMPUR – August 5, 2020: There has been an outcry in cyberspace among Malaysians who want the government to decriminalise suicide attempt.

The critics of the law have described it as archaic and heartless following the conviction of an unemployed man for that offence yesterday.

Shahfirul Hakim Shahidan, 28, was fined RM3,000 by the magistrate court here for attempting suicide, and if he fails to pay it he would have to spend three months in jail.

Nalisa Alia Amin, in her frustration lamented how criminalising suicide attempts makes no sense and serves no purpose in helping the victim.

“Man’s unemployed, stressed, lost all hopes and now got to pay up 3k or else go to jail. Instead of giving him resources, the court’s going to punish him more? Make it make sense,” wrote Nalisa through her Twitter account.

Her tweet has since garnered almost six thousand retweets and more than five thousand likes.

Echoing her opinion is Aysha Ridzuan, who lamented on how “heartless” the law is through her Twitter account.

“Unemployed, depressed, tried to commit suicide, saved, then fined because ‘he had inconvenienced many parties’. Heartless,” she tweeted.

She was apparently taking a jab at deputy public prosecutor Nurilya Ellyna Nor Azmal for asking the court to impose an appropriate sentence as a lesson to Shahfirul for inconveniencing many parties.

Another Twitter user Dr Nimelesh tagged Muar parliamentarian Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman in his tweet, hoping that the latter would bring the topic up in parliament.

“Suicide attempts should be decriminalised, please bring this up in the parliament,” he tweeted.  

On March 31, Befrienders Kuala Lumpur, a non-profit organisation that offers emotional support to those that are suicidal through its 24 hours hotline reported an increase in calls since the implementation of movement control order to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

Malaysia is one of the few countries where attempting suicide is illegal and those that are found guilty for it faces punishment by up to a year in prison, or a fine, or both.

Those who are feeling suicidal are advised to get in touch with The Befrienders via e-mail at sam@befrienders.org.my or via their 24-hour free hotline at 03-76272929.

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Ahirul Ahirudin

Ahirul Ahirudin