KUALA LUMPUR, May 15 — DAP lawmaker Ramkarpal Singh today urged authorities to investigate the social media accounts of a teenager who allegedly killed herself upon urging by her Instagram followers.
The Bukit Gelugor MP said he found it disturbing that 69 per cent on an Instagram poll purportedly created by the 16-year-old girl from Kuching, Sarawak, hours before her death had supported her desire to take her own life.
“Did the encouragement of those netizens actually influence her decision to take her own life?” Ramkarpal questioned.
“Since attempted suicide is an offence in this country, it follows that abetting one to attempt suicide may be too.”
The lawyer highlighted the case of a Michelle Carter in the US in 2017, in which the girlfriend of a man who died by suicide was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for encouraging him to kill himself and was sentenced to two and a half years’ jail.
“I am not suggesting that this incident is on all fours with the Carter case but proper investigations should be carried out to determine what exactly happened,” said Ramkarpal.
“In the circumstances, I urge the authorities, particularly the Communications and Multimedia Ministry to investigate the social media accounts of the victim and the circumstances that led to her death to prevent further abuse of social media in similar circumstances in the future.
“With respect, classifying the case as sudden death at this stage may not be the right decision without such further investigations.”
Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman expressed worries about youths’ mental health and called for a national discussion on the issue.
Media reports said the 16-year-old girl was found dead Monday night in Batu Kawa, Kuching, hours after she allegedly ran a poll on her Instagram account asking her followers if she should choose death or life. More than two-thirds, or 69 per cent, voted death, while less than a third chose life.
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