KUALA LUMPUR: The Legal Affairs Division of the Prime Minister’s Department (BHEUU) has embarked on the path towards enacting the Mental Capacity Act for Malaysia.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) M. Kulasegaran said the proposed legislation seeks to allow individuals to prepare ahead for the management of their affairs using a lasting power of attorney should they become mentally incapacitated at any time in the future.

“These decisions can be made by the person in advance before becoming mentally incapacitated. It also includes situations where a person may be undergoing surgery or is suffering from temporary mental incapacity, in that sense.

“This new legislation will therefore be a transformational new legal instrument in Malaysia to assist in the care and management of those who become mentally incapacitated,“ he said in his speech while officiating the Forum on Mental Capacity Act for Malaysia 2024 here, today.

He said the Mental Health Act 2001 which Malaysia has in force at present only allows for the court to set up a committee to look after the affairs and estate of a person with a mental disorder after the person is already mentally incapacitated.

“The proposed Mental Capacity Act will overcome this by allowing advanced planning before the occurrence of mental incapacity and is hence much needed,“ he said.

Meanwhile, Kulasegaran in a press conference after the launch of the forum said the government would hold a meeting with relevant stakeholders to discuss policies on the proposed Mental Disabilities Act.

“We will hold discussions with the state governments later to detail the implementation of those policies in the future.

“After that, a policy paper will be tabled in the Cabinet hopefully within this year, in due course to obtain policy approval before the drafting of the legislation can begin,“ he said.

The Mental Capacity Act was first introduced in the United Kingdom in 2005 which allows its residents to plan for the time they are mentally incapacitated, be it permanently or temporarily due to medical treatment, accident or trauma.

A similar legislation was introduced in Singapore in 2008.