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PAS Senator Implies K-Dramas Lead To High Suicide Rate Among Teens In Malaysia

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Speaking during the Dewan Negara sitting yesterday, 13 October, Senator Mohd Apandi Mohamad suggested that K-dramas and K-movies could be a propellant leading to young teens dying by suicide.

“Do you agree that teens who died by suicide were influenced by movies and dramas made in Korea?” he intercepted Senator Fadhlina Sidek of PKR when she was sharing the statistics of teens who died by suicide.

“Every story has a plot about suicide. […] Agree or not, when there’s a failure, there’s suicide. Failure, then suicide.”

“Is it because they are influenced by these Korean dramas?”

She said the report highlighted that suicide was the second-highest cause of teen deaths in Malaysia, with 51% of suicides being between the ages of 15 and 18.

“When we look at the record provided by Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) for the period between 2019 and 2020, suicide victims aged between 15 and 18 were the highest age group within the total 872 reported cases,” she told the Dewan Negara.

“This is a waste to Malaysia when these teens, who are at a very productive age, die or are involved in suicide.”

Shortly after, Apandi intercepted her and asked whether K-dramas and K-movies could be a contributing factor to the phenomenon, to which Fadhlina acknowledged that South Korean shows often have elements of suicide.

However, as a mental health activist, she said there are many factors that lead to teens taking their own lives.

She explained that the media has a “contagious” effect while portraying suicide. Hence, she said the way media portrays suicide cases should follow the ethical guidelines put out by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Peer pressure, academic pressure, family/parents’ issues are among the leading problems of teenage suicide, but you’re not even highlighting these,” Free Malaysia Today quoted a Twitter user as saying.

“And there are K-dramas that emphasise the importance of mental health, such as the drama It’s Okay To Not Be Okay.”

“Senator Mohd Apandi Mohamad, please do a proper survey before talking. The issue of suicide is not a topic that can be taken lightly. No, this is a sensitive issue. You cannot be arbitrary while presenting an opinion without (basing it on) true facts,” replied a netizen to Harian Metro’s tweet carrying the news.

The netizen also mentioned how the hit K-drama, It’s Okay To Not Be Okay, helped them through a dark time in their life.

Meanwhile, Bandar Kuching member of Parliament (MP) Dr Kelvin Yii asked, “What K-Dramas he is (sic) watching.”

“But this is oversimplifying and down-playing the issue without addressing the root problem and provide (sic) the necessary support.”

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For a more thorough directory of resources, head over to the websites of Malaysian Mental Health Association or MINDAKAMI.

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