A Malaysian senator is at the receiving end of online backlash after he blamed the rising number of teenage suicides on Korean dramas.
Mohd Apandi of the Islamic political party, also known as Parti Islam Se-Malaya, or PAS, made the remark during a mental health debate in Parliament yesterday, prompting others to question his K-drama habits, while others pointed him to more legitimate factors that may have contributed to suicides, such as academic pressure or issues at home.
“Many teens who take their lives, whether we agree with it or not, Korean dramas influenced their deaths. All Korean dramas have suicide scenes,” the 71-year-old said while responding to the need for more measures to improve mental health in Malaysia that was brought up by People’s Justice Party senator Fadhlina Sidek.
“To these teenagers, suicide is the way out when they experience failure. Are they being highly influenced by Korean dramas?” Apandi added.
Bandar Kuching MP Kelvin Yii and former education minister Maszlee Malik were among those who seemed puzzled by Apandi’s remarks, wondering which dramas the elderly senator had been watching.
“PAS senator says K-dramas contribute to teen suicides. I wonder which K-drama is that?” Maszlee tweeted.
Yii also accused Apandi of downplaying suicide rates among teenagers.
“This is oversimplifying and downplaying the issue without addressing the root problem and provide the necessary support,” Yii tweeted.
Many of those who slammed Apandi’s comments on Twitter had listed a slew of other reported reasons that may have caused suicides, and Korean dramas are definitely not one of them.
“Social, peer pressure, academic pressure, family/parents’ issues are among the leading problems of teenage suicide, but you didn’t even highlight that,” user ShahkeerahK wrote.
Xxnothzmerasfea chimed in: “K-drama is not even real. Real things that happen in Malaysia actually cause teenagers to attempt suicide… Malaysian Government, you know you can do better right?”
The police reported 486 suicide cases between January and May this year, with the majority of them being in Selangor.