Euthanasia in Malaysia: Does it Bring Harm or Immoral?
- Author Cheng Jia Hui, Dr. Nabeel Mahdi Althabhawi
- Published March 11, 2023
- Word count 750
According to Pearsall & Trumble, euthanasia is explained as ‘the bringing about of a gentle and easy death for someone suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma’. Oxford Dictionary defines euthanasia as gentle and easy death: bringing of this especially in the case of incurable and painful diseases.
Euthanasia has always been a controversial topic in Malaysia. This article will discuss euthanasia from the moral perspective and its legal effect in Malaysia and Canada. The way euthanasia is carried out in Malaysia and Canada will be compared. Although both are commonwealth countries, a line can be drawn between them because euthanasia is illegal in Malaysia but legal in Canada.
Euthanasia in Malaysia context
In Malaysia, no laws specify the legal consequence of euthanasia. Meanwhile, there is a law in Penal Code that deal with culpable homicide amounting to murder. Section 300 of the Malaysian Penal Code states that murder is constituted if the act that results in death is carried out with the aim to do so. In certain circumstances, it involves active voluntary euthanasia where culpable homicide is not murder when the victim over 18 years old is giving consent to suffer death, or takes the risk of death. This fall under exception 5 of section 300 Penal Code.
In other way to say it, the provision of euthanasia is not clearly defined in any Malaysian written law and the action of euthanasia itself (culpable homicide amounting to murder in the Penal Code) is illegal.
Euthanasia in Canada context
Canada is one of the countries legalized euthanasia by allowing doctor to kill patient by drugs. The Canadian Parliament passed federal legislation in June 2016 that enables eligible Canadian people to seek medical assistance in dying (MAID). There are only physicians dan nurse practitioners can provide MAID to eligible person who has a grievous and irremediable medical condition. Additionally, their death had to be "reasonably foreseeable," and at least two physicians had to agree with the request for euthanasia.
Later, the law was amended to permit those who are not terminally ill to choose death, greatly expanding the pool of candidates. In 2021, the Government of Canada announced that changes to MAID officially came into effect. MAID cases have increased 32.4% from 2020 to 2021. There were 10,064 euthanasia deaths recorded in 2021.
John Stuart Mill’s view
John Stuart Mill was the most influential English language philosopher of the nineteenth century. He wrote in “On Liberty” (1859): The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier because in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right.
Mill defended individual freedom in matters of private morality. According to Mill, an action should only be prohibited by law to prevent "harm" to others. Mill rejects the reasons such as doing something based on benefit or goodness to the person himself. In the field of criminology, there is a category of crime called victimless crime. For example, killing a terminally ill person (euthanasia). Those who do so voluntarily and the act is considered immoral not because of "harm" to others but the act itself is considered immoral.
Writer’s view on euthanasia
Euthanasia is a double-edged sword. It can bring both good and negative effects. The people in favor of euthanasia contend that it enables terminally ill people to leave this world peacefully and with dignity, and they contend that society should support individuals' right to choose euthanasia. People should be able to choose their own death date and location because it is immoral to make individuals endure severe pain and suffering since doing so infringes their rights to personal freedom and human dignity.
On the other side, some people think that the suffering of people with terminal illnesses would be reduced if euthanasia was made legal in Malaysia. Making terminally ill people undergo severe pain would be cruel and unjust.
In conclusion, euthanasia is morally incorrect by looking at the view of Mill although it does not bring harm to others. Every country has its own jurisdiction and law on euthanasia. The legislation of euthanasia in Malaysia, either the Penal Code or any new law governing euthanasia should be updated frequently in order to benefit people to the greatest extent.
Cheng Jia Hui is currently a year 3 law student of the National University of MalaysiaArticle source: https://articlebiz.com
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