A 16-year-old girl has killed herself after asking her Instagram followers whether she should live or die, police in Malaysia have confirmed.
The young girl is said to have posted an Instagram story asking her followers: ‘Really important, help me choose D/L’, with D meaning ‘death’ and L meaning ‘life.’
According to police chief Aidil Bolhassan, 69 per cent of people had voted for ‘die’, prompting her to take her own life.
She was found dead at the bottom of a three-floor building in Kuching, on the island of Borneo, at around 8pm on Tuesday.
Bolhassan added the girl had been living with depression and had posted a message on Facebook saying: ‘WANNA QUIT F*CKING LIFE I’M TIRED.’
News site Astro Awani wrote the girl’s stepfather had recently married a Vietnamese woman and failed to return home.
Officers say they are not treating the death as suspicious, but the girl’s body has been taken for a post-mortem examination.
They also claim the poll ended with 88% voting for ‘L’ but believe voting changed when news of the girl’s death spread.
A politician and lawyer has suggested that as suicide is regarded as an illegal offence in Malaysia, then convincing someone to take their own life should be as well.
Minister Ramkarpal Singh has urged investigators not to close the investigation into her death, without looking into her social media to see who had encouraged her to take her own life.
He said, as reported by Astro Awani:
Would the girl still be alive today if the majority of netizens on her Instagram account discouraged her from taking her own life,’ he asked.
Would she have heeded the advice of netizens to seek professional help had they done so? Did the encouragement of those netizens actually influence her decision to take her own life?
Since attempted suicide is an offence in this country, it follows that abetting one to attempt suicide may be, too.
Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul, Malaysia’s youth and sports minister, said the tragic events further highlighted the need for national level discussions about mental health in the country.
I am genuinely worried about the state of our youth’s mental health. It’s a national issue which must be taken seriously.
Earlier this year, Instagram said it would launch ‘sensitivity screens’ to block images of self-harm, following the death of 14-year-old Brit Molly Russell, whose parents believe images of suicide and self-harm played a part in her taking her own life in 2017.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the LADbible Group team in 2017.