Incriminating the sick and desparate

I was shocked, upset and angry with what i read on tuesday 13-Nov-2012, In the article “Woman found dead in bandar” that “The police pointed out that attempted suicide was an offence under Section 309, Chapter 22 of the Penal Code and carries a jail term of up to one year, a fine or both”. A similar information was given in the Borneo Bulletin on page 9.

It seems to me that the police is more intent on punishing people, then to help them. That to instill fear of punishment, would stop people from attempting suicide. I think it would only resolve their commitment to ensure their death. This rule seems archaic, doing some research, I found from BBC ( that the criminalization for suicide was removed in england in 1961. Are we in Brunei still using such a inhumane and outdated law? Recently in malaysia, they are reviewing this law (, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, the minister of health stated that “If jailing a person will prevent him from committing suicide, then we should do it. However, we are not addressing the problem and treating him so he will not attempt to commit suicide in the future”

People who attempt suicide are people who are distressed, upset, and suffering. They are so desperate that they see death as a release. In many cases, it is a cry for help.
I know it is sinful for people to kill themselves, but people who are suffering and desperate may not see it that way, they are not of clear mind. They need help. But according to this law, if they attempt suicide, and they survive, they will actually be punished for being given a second chance. Will this ruling cause a reduce in suicides? I doubt it. What these people need is support, love and counselling. In order to get back them back on their feet, to clearly see that they have hope.

Let us be reasonable, let us be humane, let us support these people. I hope that this law will be changed soon. So that instead of the threat of punishment, that these people may be able to get help by approaching the proper authorities. I believe that It is better to give them hope in their time of need, and to guide them to continue living, then to threaten them to the point they will not search for help, for fear of further distress. I am angered by the thought of a loved one, if suicidal was to be punished rather than be counselled. How would you feel?

I’d like to share a tedtalk considering this subject matter:


3 thoughts on “Incriminating the sick and desparate”

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