Review disabled man’s conviction for attempted suicide

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Hakam urges the Attorney General’s Chambers to review the Kuala Terengganu Magistrate Court’s recent conviction and sentence to seven months’ jail of a disabled man for attempted suicide.

Such charges under Section 309 of the Penal Code should never have been instituted in the first place. There is a serious lack of compassion and humanity in the criminal justice system if a disabled man who has reached such a desperate position in life is punished even further with a jail term. The law should not only be concerned with penalties but must be tempered with mercy and kindness.

Hakam calls for the disabled man to be given psychiatric assistance in a suitable institution and not imprisonment, where his mental health would likely deteriorate further.

Hakam further calls on the government to consider repealing the offence of attempting to commit suicide under Section 309 of the Penal Code. Other Commonwealth countries such as the UK, India and Singapore have already done the same. Malaysia is one of the few countries that still retain this archaic law in our statute books. This recent conviction encapsulates everything that is wrong with such a law.

Lim Wei Jiet is secretary-general of Hakam

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