KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 — A moratorium on the enforcement of Section 309 of the Penal Code for attempted suicide will be proposed until full decriminalisation takes place, Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said announced today.

Azalina said the move, part of four policies under the federal government’s move to decriminalise the offence, would subsequently encourage those affected to seek help without fear of facing legal consequences while putting an end to stigmatisation against acts of suicide.

“The fact remains that attempted suicide falls within the scope of suicidal behaviour and is often the result of mental incapacity or psychiatric disorder.


“The implementation of the moratorium will facilitate matters related to enforcement and prosecution,” she said.

At present, Section 309 provides a jail term of up to one year or fine or both upon conviction.

The moratorium will be implemented until the repeal of the aforementioned Section and is properly gazetted.


Azalina tabled the Bill — which includes the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill 2023, the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill 2023 and the Mental Health (Amendment) Bill 2023, at the Dewan Rakyat for the first reading earlier today.

The second reading and debate will be done in the next sitting in May.

However, Azalina said the crime of aiding and abetting suicide under Sections 305 and 306 of the Penal Code respectively will be maintained and their punishment reinforced against cases involving children and incapacitated persons as compared to other victim categories.

“This is because said groups are most exposed to their surroundings where they are more vulnerable to manipulation and influence from their abettors,” she said.

Under the Section 305, whosoever abets the commission of suicide against children or incapacitated persons, upon conviction shall be punished with death or jail up to 20 years and fine.

Under the proposed abolishment, Azalina also said a team of crisis intervention officers will be formed and will be accorded power of arrest under the Mental Health Act since there is a need to handle incidents of attempted suicides following full decriminalisation.