Minister supports probing teen’s alleged suicide after Instagram poll, raises concern with social media’s ‘dark side’

Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, May 15: All netizens should have the conscience to set their boundaries on social media, advised Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, following the alleged suicide of a teenage girl in Batu Kawah, here, yesterday.

Concurring that an investigation should be carried out, especially relating to abuse of the social media, he, however, noted the dark side of the rise of the social media that had blurred lines and corrupted walls and boundaries demarcating socially acceptable and unacceptable behaviour online.

“People can post whatever they want on social media, but the users themselves should not abuse the social media,” he told reporters when met after holding a press conference at the Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB) today.

“Whether to defend, provoke or allowing netizens to decide on whether to live or die, the thought about what kind of people in the cyberspace who read the post you make is a cause for serious concern as there are crazy people out there.”

Yesterday, a 16-year-old girl from Batu Kawah allegedly leapt to her death after holding a ‘live or die’ poll on her Instagram (IG) account.

According to Padawan District police chief Supt Aidil Bolhassan, about 69 per cent of her IG followers supported the victim’s decision to end her life via the poll that was created around 3pm on May 14.

Abdul Karim urged people, especially youngsters, not to resort to social media to seek answers to problems but instead reach out for help and talk to someone in trying to look for solutions.

“Do not give up and commit suicide no matter how big the problem can be. There are no problems that cannot be resolved. There are ways and alternatives,” he advised those with suicidal thoughts.

“Voice out to your friends because they are among the avenues for you to confine your problems and find relief from the pressure and stress faced at that moment.”

Concerned about the development of youths in this era, Abdul Karim emphasised the need to create more programmes and activities ranging from sporting to cultural in order to get children to be more active and help them be better persons.

“The community and older ones have to help the younger ones and make sure they are on the right path,” he added. — DayakDaily