Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said decriminalising suicide would be the first step towards that, as failure to do so would only make the registration incomplete. NSTP/HAFIZ SOHAIMI

KUALA LUMPUR: The government hopes to revive the National Suicide Registry of Malaysia (NSRM) by next year, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.

Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said decriminalising suicide would be the first step towards that, as failure to do so would only make the registration incomplete.

“We do not want those trying to commit suicide be punished,” he said.

To that end, Lee said, there was a need to review Sections 305, 306 and 309 of the Penal Code that deal with suicide.

He was replying to a supplementary question by Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen (PH- Bandar Kuching) who wanted to know whether the government intended to revive the NSRM.

To a question from R.S.N Rayer (PH-Jelutong) on measures taken by the ministry to reduce the number of suicides that was on the rise in the country, Lee said screening services for mental health were provided at 60 government hospitals, 1,001 health clinics and 25 mental health community centres.

“There are 400 psychiatrists available at health facilities under the ministry, along with 298 family medicine specialists that could assist those facing depression, as well as offer suitable treatment,” he added.

Lee said a total of 356 suicide cases were recorded between 2014 and June this year.

Of the total, 147 cases involved Chinese, followed by Indians (76), Malays (47) and other races (17), as well as foreigners (69).