JOHOR BARU, Nov 24 — Johor Pakatan Harapan (PH) has urged the government to pay urgent attention to the increasing number of suicides in Malaysia, after 266 cases were reported nationwide during the movement control order (MCO) and recovery movement control order (RMCO) periods to curb Covid-19 infections.
Its chief Aminolhuda Hassan described the figures as shocking, adding that he feared the spike might be due to the financial and economic pressures brought on by the pandemic.
He urged the government to address the issue immediately and increase efforts to alleviate people’s hardship.
“Yes, the current economic climate is very challenging and it can’t be denied that this situation may be linked to the suicides.
“The government needs to focus harder on its effort to strengthen the people’s economy by listening to the views of various parties and not just one-track views from themselves.
“For me, the matter is serious because it involves people’s lives,” said Aminolhuda in a statement to Malay Mail today.
He was commenting on a recent report that 266 people are said to have committed suicide from March 18 to October 30, with Johor recording the most cases at 47 followed by Selangor (39) and Kuala Lumpur (28).
Aminolhuda, who is also the Johor Opposition leader and the state’s Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) chief, said apart from Covid-19 deaths in the country, suicide should also remain a matter of concern.
He called for effective measures from the government to tackle the issue.
“The importance of policy making is the responsibility of the government and efforts to improve the economy need to be expedited to curb this.
“Among the measures that the government needs to take is giving in to a non-targeted moratorium so that the people can benefit,” said Aminolhuda.
Besides that, the Parit Yaani assemblyman claimed that the attempt by the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government to impose a state of emergency has made people afraid to partake in economic recovery activities.
“Policies to develop the economy need to be done. This becomes an obligation in an effort to prevent suicides from recurring and increasing,” he added.
On Wednesday, a report by a Malay daily quoting Bukit Aman Management Director Datuk Ramli Din as confirming that 266 people committed suicide nationwide during the movement restriction periods.
The figure translates to 30 suicides per month or one every day during the period.
Debt caused by job losses and family problems were cited as the main factors for people deciding to take their own lives.
* If you are lonely, distressed, or having negative thoughts, Befrienders offers free and confidential support 24 hours a day. Contact Befrienders KL at 03-79568145 or 04-281 5161/1108 in Penang, or 05-5477933/7955 in Ipoh or email [email protected].