Considerations for Introducing Legislation on Advance Decisions in Malaysia
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Despite significant advances in medicine, death remains a certainty for every living human being. End-of-life care decision-making is not made easier in a multi-cultural and multi-religious society like Malaysia. As such, planning for one's death by making Advance Decisions can be immensely valuable as it can help healthcare providers in Malaysia to understand better the preferences and wishes of their patients. However, compared to other countries, there is currently no specific legislation on any form of Advance Decisions in Malaysia despite many doctors voicing a need for them. Unlike the Mental Capacity Act 2005 in the UK, the Malaysian Mental Health Act 2001 does not cover all instances of incapacity and only applies to those who suffer from a mental disorder as defined in the Act. In the absence of legislation, one could look to ethical guidelines, especially from the Malaysian Medical Council, but find that this can sometimes be problematic. It is argued that a concerted effort involving all relevant parties is required to develop a pragmatic and viable Advance Decisions frameworkl in Malaysia.
KeywordsAdvance decisions End-of-life care Medical law Malaysia
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