World

M’sia ministers slam netizens who voted for girl to die

KUALA LUMPUR Malaysian police are investigating the case of a teenager believed to have jumped to her death after asking her social media followers to vote on whether she should kill herself.

The 16-year-old girl, who was not named, had run a poll on Instagram with the request, "Really Important, Help Me Choose D/L", hours before jumping off the roof of a building in Sarawak on Monday, district police chief Aidil Bolhassan told Reuters .

D/L meant Death/Life, and the poll showed 69 per cent of her followers chose D, he said.

Instagram reviewed the teenager's account and found that the online poll, which ran over a 24-hour period, ended with 88 per cent votes for L, said Ms Wong Ching Yee, Instagram's head of communications in the Asia-Pacific.

The case sparked concern among Malaysian lawmakers who called for a wider probe.

Mr Ramkarpal Singh, a lawyer and Member of Parliament, said that those who voted for the teenager to die could be guilty of abetting suicide.

"Would the girl still be alive today if the majority of netizens on her Instagram account discouraged her from taking her own life?" he said in a statement.

"Would she have heeded the advice of netizens to seek professional help had they done so?"

Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman also called for a probe, saying that rising suicide rates and mental health issues among young people needed to be taken seriously.

Under Malaysian law, anyone convicted of abetting the suicide of a minor could face the death penalty or up to 20 years' jail and a fine.

Instagram extended its sympathies to the teenager's family and said the company had a responsibility to make users feel safe and supported. - REUTERS

HELPLINES

  • Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444
  • lSingapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019
  • lCare Corner Counselling Centre (Mandarin): 1800-353-5800
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