MTOs are rare, say lawyers

Trespasser Zainal Ariffin Selamat, 38, was given a two-year mandatory treatment order (MTO) yesterday. Lawyers told The New Paper that MTOs are rarely given.

Mr Rajan Supramaniam from Hilborne Law said that only about three of his clients were given an MTO since it was first rolled out in 2010.

He said that an MTO is given to convicts who are suffering from mental conditions so that they can be treated and rehabilitated.

The former prisons officer said: "Imprisonment isn't always the solution. Some people need to be treated because they are mentally unwell."

Another lawyer, Mr Louis Joseph, said that after a judge calls for an MTO report, the accused person will be accessed at the Institute of Mental Health to see if the offence he committed is linked to his mental condition. A report will then be submitted on whether an MTO is recommended.