Is it illegal to commit suicide in Singapore? Will I be punished if my attempt at suicide fails?
Attempting suicide is illegal in Singapore. It is punishable with a year’s jail, or fine, pursuant to section 309 of the Penal Code. However, it is rarely enforced in reality. This is so as not to aggravate the already delicate emotional well-being of the suicidal person. Therefore, a person who attempts suicide and fails is rarely punished.
A person who succeeds and dies as a result of suicide will also not be punished, for obvious reasons. The urban legend that a deceased person who dies via suicide will have his corpse handcuffed and arrested, and/or whipped as punishment, is merely a myth.
On a related note, a person who abets suicide (who aids another in attempting suicide) will also be punished with a jail term of up to 10 years or a fine, pursuant to section 306 of the Penal Code. This is especially so if such an abettor is motivated by malicious intentions.
In contrast, as long as a person is above 21 years of age, he can sign a legal document granted by the Advanced Medical Directive. This document allows him to inform his doctor that he does not wish to be given life-sustaining treatment in the event that he is unconscious with a terminal illness such that he is unable to make his wishes known at that point in time. In such cases, given the patient’s express consent, the doctor will not be held as an abettor of suicide if he switches off life support and allows the patient to die.
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