Those who incited girl to commit suicide liable to 20 years’ jail, says MCMC

PETALING JAYA: Those who incited a 16-year-old girl in Sarawak to commit suicide, based on a poll on her Instagram on whether she should live or die, may be liable to 20 years’ jail and a fine.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) said offenders may be liable under Section 305 of the Penal Code which states it is wrong to incite someone aged below 18 to commit suicide.

“In this matter, MCMC is ready to provide any technical help needed by the police,” it said in a statement to FMT.

MCMC added social media is a platform for users, including teenagers, to communicate and to seek information. As such, users should act responsibly while using the internet.

“If anyone is inclined towards committing suicide, police should be informed immediately for further action,” it added.

It was reported that the girl jumped from the top of a shophouse after 69% of respondents asked her to choose “death”.

Sarawak police said she had put up a poll on Instagram with the question, “Really Important, Help Me Choose D/L”, hours before committing suicide on May 13. The “D/L” meant “Death/Life”.

However, Reuters had a different version of the poll on Instagram.

The news agency reported that Instagram had reviewed the teenager’s account and found that the online poll, which ran over a 24-hour period, ended with 88% votes for “L” (life), said Wong Ching Yee, Instagram’s head of communications in the Asia-Pacific.

Padawan district police chief Aidil Bolhassan, however, told Reuters that the poll’s numbers may have changed after news of the girl’s death spread.

In February, Instagram banned graphic images and content related to self-harm from its platform, citing a need to keep vulnerable users safe, Reuters said.

The changes came following pressure from the parents of a British teenager, who believed that viewing Instagram accounts related to self-harm and depression contributed to their daughter’s suicide in 2017.