A man jumped off the Penang Bridge last week. Many had jumped before him, but this one man’s suicide caught the attention of the masses.
Mohd Shukri Saad, 39, had left a suicide note on his Facebook account, saying that he could not face jail and he could not go on living in economic hardship when the government prosecutes small people like him but lets go those who steal millions.
He narrated that he was charged with selling smuggled cigarettes worth a couple of hundred ringgit. He had a few thousand in debt and there were people who still owed him.
He invoked God in his last letter to his family and said that he hoped he will be among those chosen to be in Heaven.
He spoke of opposition party PAS working together with ruling party Umno, two parties which has hundreds of thousands of members very much like him – Malay and Muslim and from the lower income, riding a cheap motorbike and had a family to support.
What made a difference about his suicide is that his last letter resonated with millions of Malaysians who go through the same thoughts every day today.
His suicide note went viral and many agreed to most things that he said, that there is too much persecution on the small fishes and small crimes, than on the big white collar crimes reaching to billions.
Millions of us are struggling with the increasing costs of living, scraping the barrel even on salary day to buy the most basic grocery items to put food on the table and dodging the mounting bills every month.
As much as Islam abhors suicide, what shows in his death is that sympathy poured on this man by Muslim and Malays, who would normally condemn such an action. Very few condemned him for leaving his family to pay off his debts.
His suicide should trigger at least some emotion from the authorities, for despite many have jumped off the bridge before, this man has said it clearly – that it was not within his ability to get out the economic hardship and he felt there was no more use of continuing to live and that he is better off dead.
Despite all the suicidal thoughts and hopelessness, in his last hours, he still had faith and hoped that in death he would find a better life.
As much as some have labelled him as selfish, one cannot but agree that there will be more suicides by poor Malaysians who just cannot take such a life scrounging from day to day for their meals to continue living, as authorities remove subsidies and let prices rise, allow free trade and let big fishes free.
The government must take this suicide seriously and remember that it was very much a similar suicide which led to the Arab Spring.
In 2010, Tarek el-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian street vendor set himself on fire on 17 December 2010, in response to the confiscation of his wares and the harassment and humiliation that he said was inflicted on him by a municipal official and her aides.
This act became a catalyst for the Tunisian Revolution and the wider Arab Spring, inciting demonstrations and riots throughout Tunisia in protest of social and political issues in the country.
And until today, the Arab world has still not risen from its ashes which started with Tarek.
Source : Zakiah Koya@The Heat Malaysia Online