KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — The Dewan Rakyat today passed the Mental Health (Amendment) Bill 2023 which among others allows crisis intervention officers to arrest any person attempting to commit suicide.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Ramkarpal Singh said the amendment aims to amend the Mental Health Act 2001 (Act 615) following the repeal of the offence of attempted suicide under Section 309 of the Penal Code (Act 574).
“Currently crisis intervention officers only involve police officers, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency officers, fire and auxiliary fire officers, members of the Malaysian Civil Defence Force and community welfare officers because the process of rescuing victims requires specific training and sufficient expertise.
“Authority is also given to forcibly enter the premises and any part of the premises where there is a suicide attempt. Therefore, the selection of the power to rescue is given to institutions that are stated taking into account the potential to act as a crisis officer,” he said when winding up the debate on the Mental Health (Amendment) Bill 2023, here today.
The bill, which was tabled on April 4 for the first reading, was passed with more votes in favour after the third reading by Ramkarpal.
Ramkarpal also explained that the word arrest used under the act needs to be taken in the context of saving the victim.
“Regarding the use of the term arrest as I emphasised several times that in this context what we need to remember is that arrest or detention is clearly referring to a rescue scenario,” he said.
Earlier, a total of 13 Members of Parliament participated in the debate session on the bill.
Yesterday, the Dewan Rakyat also approved suicide-related bills, namely the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill 2023 (Act 574) and the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill (No. 2) 2023.