Malaysian senator criticised for linking teen suicide rates to Korean dramas in parliament

His comments in Malaysian parliament sparked heated criticism on social media, including from fellow politicians

A Malaysian senator has been criticised for comments he made in parliament connecting teen suicide rates to Korean dramas.

In a mental health conference in Malaysian parliament on Wednesday (October 13), Mohd Apandi, from political party Parti Islam Se-Malaya (PAS), asked if K-dramas were to blame for the rising number of teen suicide cases in the country.

Apandi intercepted a discussion about improving mental health measures in Malaysia and said, according to Coconuts: “Many teens who take their lives, whether we agree with it or not, Korean dramas influenced their deaths.”

He claimed, “All Korean dramas have suicide scenes”, and later added: “To these teenagers, suicide is the way out when they experience failure. Are they being highly influenced by Korean dramas?”

His comments sparked criticism on social media, including from fellow politicians. Dr Kelvin Yii, an MP of Bandar Kuching, said Apandi was “oversimplifying and downplaying the issue without addressing the root problem and providing the necessary support”.

Syed Saddiq, MP for Muar and founder of the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance, remarked that it was his first time encountering someone linking suicide to Korean dramas, instead of other structural factors and societal stressors.

See their comments and more below.

Last night (October 14), Apandi clarified his comments to Free Malaysia Today. “I am not saying Korean films or dramas trigger suicides, but they play a part,” he said. “These shows, especially serials, are popular and could influence [their audience].”

While he emphasised parents’ responsibility in “filtering” the dramas their children watch, he did concede that South Korea “has some good dramas.”

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