MENTAL HEALTH LAWS & GUIDELINES

This page lists the Mental Health Laws and professional regulatory boards in Malaysia.

Mental Health Act 2001

The Mental Health Act 2001 states that a patient can be admitted into a psychiatric hospital upon the order of a medical officer or registered medical practitioner, as a voluntary patient or by order of the Court.

A person suspected to be mentally ill may be admitted involuntarily upon an application to the Medical Director by a relative of the person; and a recommendation of a medical officer or a registered medical practitioner based on a personal examination of the person made not more than five days before the admission of the person.

An involuntary patient may be discharged by the Medical Director of a psychiatric hospital when it is in the best interest of the patient, or the patient is no longer in need of further care or treatment in the psychiatric hospital.

The Medical Director of every psychiatric hospitals has the duty to ensure that every patient in the hospital and a relative of the patient understands the rights available to the patient.

Any Medical Director or person in charge of, or an officer or a staff of, or persons otherwise employed in or engaged by, a psychiatric hospital, psychiatric nursing home, community mental health centre, or any other government or private healthcare premises who ill-treats or wilfully neglects a patient under his care or custody is liable to a fine not exceeding RM 10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both.

You may read the Mental Health Act 2001 in its entirety here.

Psychiatric and Mental Health Services Operational Policy

The Psychiatric and Mental Health Services Operational Policy was issued by the Ministry of Health in 2011.

All patients have a right to confidentiality, including children and adolescents. In the rare event that this may lead to detrimental effects or due to legal requirement, the consideration of safety and well-being of the child or adolescent may override this confidentiality. However, this must be carefully explained to the patient in language that can be easily understood.

Informed consent to treatment must be obtained and questions should be allowed without reservation.

You may find out about best practices and guidelines of psychiatric services as stipulated by the Ministry of Health here.

Emergency Services

For all serious medical emergencies (including mental health emergencies), your options for getting face-to-face medical help quickly are through the Emergency Department at public hospitals.

Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect

There is a mandatory requirement of doctors to report suspected child abuse/neglect and/or protection needs to the Child Protector (empowered JKM officer) under the Child Act 2001 and under the Act, the identity of the reporter will not be revealed without consent unless ordered by Court.

One Stop Crisis Centres are set up in almost every hospital in Malaysia as an entry point to child abuse cases and adult survivors of domestic and sexual violence. OSCC team members comprises of a multidisciplinary team of health staff, police, medical social workers, counsellors and Non-Government Organisations.

There are also a number of public hospitals with Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) teams. This is a multidisciplinary team of hospital staff comprising paediatricians, gynecologists, mental health professionals, accident and emergency staff, forensic pathologists, nurses, and medical social workers who work closely with designated Welfare Officers from Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat (JKM) and police officers in the management of abused or neglected children. The SCAN Team hospital members will be or have been identified by the hospital and trained to evaluate and manage child abuse cases. One of the doctors from this team can also be the medical team member of the district/state JKM Child Protection Team.

Hospitals with a SCAN unit

Perlis: Hospital Tuanku Fauziah, Kangar
Kedah: Hospital Sultanah Bahiyah, Alor Setar
Hospital Sultan Abdul Halim, Sg. Petani
Hospital Kulim
P.Pinang: Hospital Pulau Pinang
Perak: Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun, Ipoh
Selangor: Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah, Klang
N. Sembilan: Hospital Tuanku Jaafar, Seremban
Melaka: Hospital Melaka
Johor: Hospital Sultan Ismail, Pandan
Hospital Batu Pahat
Pahang: Hospital Tengku Ampuan Afzan, Kuantan
Terengganu: Hospital Sultanah Nur Zahirah, Kuala Terengganu
Kelantan: Hospital Raja Perempuan Zainab II, Kota Bharu
Sabah: Hospital Likas
Sarawak: Hospital Umum Sarawak
WP Kuala Lumpur: Hospital Kuala Lumpur

Mental Health Professionals

The Counsellor Act

The Counsellor Act was passed in 1998, making “Counsellor" a protected professional title in Malaysia. All counsellors must be registered with the Board of Counsellors and be trained at an accredited program in Malaysia.

All counsellors are subjected to the counsellors code of ethics under the Counsellor Act, which is regulated by the Board of Counsellors Malaysia. If you have a complaint about the behaviours or practices of a registered counsellor, please file your complaint at Lembaga Kounselor Malaysia (under the Kementarian Pembangunan Wanita, Keluarga and Masyarakat).

Clinical Psychologists

Clinical Psychology is not yet a protected professional term and as such are not required to be registered with a registration board, or regulated by an ethics code. Clinical Psychologists can however voluntarily registered with the Malaysian Society of Clinical Psychology. Check the American Psychological Association code of conduct and ethical principles of psychologists to learn more the ethical professional conduct of psychologists.

Accreditation
All accredited programs must meet the following criteria stipulated by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA).The following Master of Counselling programs has been accredited by MQA.

International Islamic University Malaysia (MQA/FA6263)*
HELP University (A6678)
Open University Malaysia (MQA/FA0155)
Sultan Idris Education University (UPSI) (MQA/FA5912)*
UNITAR International University (MQA/FA1749)
Universiti Malaysia Sabah (MQA/FA7177)
Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (MQA/FA6894)
Universiti Putra Malaysia (MQA/SWA0422)
Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (MQA/FA5604)
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (MQA/SWA0326)
Universiti Utara Malaysia (MQA/FA6429)
University of Malaya (MQA/FA7251)

*Under Master of Education (Guidance and Counselling)

The following Master of Clinical Psychology programs has been accredited by the MQA.
HELP University (A8077)
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (MQA/SWA0194)