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.
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 are required to register with the Ministry of Health under the Allied Health Profession Act 2016. If you have a complaint about the behaviours or practices of a registered counsellor, please file your complaint with the Malaysian Allied Health Professions Council.
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.
WHAT ARE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH RIGHTS?