KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 -- A member of parliament on Tuesday called for the repeal of the law on suicide, saying the jail term and fine did not seem to be a deterrent factor in preventing suicides.
DAP Member of Parliament for Batu Gajah Fong Po Kuan said in the Dewan Rakyat that Malaysia should emulate the example of the developed countries and do away with the law, Section 309 of the Penal Code.
The section, under "Attempt to Commit Suicide", states that "whoever attempts to commit suicide, and does any act towards the commission of such offence, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both".
Fong said there was a tendency among those who wanted to commit suicide to commit themselves to the act because they would have to face the law should they fail in their attempt.
Deputy Home Minister Jelaing Mersat said the ministry was aware of the matter, and added that causes of suicide were financial, family, mental and health problems.
He said suicide cases were classified as sudden death, and an investigation was conducted to identify the cause of death.
Ministry statistics showed that there were 1,578 sudden deaths in 2005, 2,722 in 2006, 3,426 in 2007, 3,976 in 2008 and 3,398 from January to November this year, he said.