KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — Two Perikatan Nasional (PN) MPs from PAS today said the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community should be considered as suffering from mental health illnesses.
The Islamist party's Pasir Salak MP Jamaluddin Yahya stood up to ask his colleague, Kapar MP Dr Halimah Ali, if she agreed that LGBT persons should be considered as such, despite recognition otherwise in the medical field.
“Kapar do you agree with Pasir Salak, Pasir Salak wants to suggest that LGBT group should also be included as mental health problems?” Jamaluddin asked during the debate on the Bill to amend the Mental Health Act 2001 in Parliament here.
Dr Halimah, towards the end of her speech during her turn to debate, had agreed to include this suggestion as part of her speech: "Thank you Pasir Salak, consider it included."
In its first edition published in 1952, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders had listed homosexuality as a type of mental disorder, but in 1973 a revision had removed it from the list.
Its latest edition published in 2013 does not list sexual orientation as a mental disorder at all. It however listed "gender dysphoria", indicating "significant distress or impairment" for persons whose gender identity does not reflect their sex characteristics.
The Bill to amend the Mental Health Act was tabled for its second reading today by Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Ramkarpal Singh.
If it is passed, it will among others substitute Section 11 of the Act.
Section 11(1) stated that any crisis intervention officer may apprehend any person whom he has reason to believe is mentally disordered and is, because of mental disorder, dangerous to himself or to other persons or property; or any person who attempts suicide.
The amendment also seeks to empower any crisis intervention officer to apprehend any person whom he has reason to believe is mentally disordered and is, because of mental disorder, dangerous to himself or to other person or property, or any person who attempts to commit suicide.
Subsequently, the crisis intervention officer shall bring the apprehended person to a government psychiatric hospital or a gazetted private psychiatric hospital no later than 24 hours after the apprehension for examination.
This amendment is consequential to the deletion of Section 309 of the Penal Code.