KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 24 — Ahead of this weekend’s Bersih 4 rally, a group of students have gathered in front of Parliament for a sit-in protest dubbed “#OccupyParliament” and have refused to leave until Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak steps down.
Student activist Fahmi Zainol said about 50 to 100 students will take turns sitting in front of Parliament every day until Najib quits and until the country’s federal lawmakers get together to discuss solutions for various issues plaguing the country.
“We are in front of Parliament with our demands asking the prime minister to step down and also asking that after he steps down, all MPs gather in Parliament to give us an alternative about the current issues.
“We will not leave Parliament until our demands are met,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted this evening.
At the time of writing, about 10 students were gathered at the gates of Parliament despite the rain and have pledged continue with the #OccupyParliament movement well-beyond this weekend’s Bersih 4 rally.
“Before Bersih or even after Bersih, it doesn’t matter, we will continue as long as Najib is in power,” he said.
He said although there are only 10 students so far at #OccupyParliament, the protest will continue as it is crucial for students, who don’t have hidden agendas, to defend their country.
“It’s not very many (of us) and we’re all from various movements but… it’s important because we can trigger change.
“If the opposition wanted to voice their opinions, people just see them as members of the opposition, and maybe others are busy with work so we take this as our responsibility,” he said.
Fahmi said the #OccupyParliament movement started after they attempted to hand over a memorandum to the Prime Minister’s Office asking that Najib step down, which Putrajaya refused to accept.
The student activist also noted that there are no police personnel present where the students were currently gathered but that the Parliament security officers had “taken note” of their presence.
He also said that they were looking for donations of food, tarps, tents and candles to continue with their sit-in, adding that they have already had several people ask for bank account numbers for donation purposes.
The former Universiti Malaya student council president reiterated the importance of students to stand up for their country, adding that it was the prerogative of all Malaysians to defend the nation.
“Some students may not be interested in these kinds of gatherings but there needs to be action. Everyone who loves Malaysia, regardless of race, religion or ethnicity, regardless of political slant, should stand up and fight for our country,” he said.
This is the second occupy movement that has taken root in Kuala Lumpur, the first being #OccupyDataran,, which staged their camp-in after some 500 tertiary education students marched through Kuala Lumpur on April 14, 2012 to demand the abolition of the National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN).
The Bersih 4 rally, which aims to pressure the government for institutional reforms, is to kick off on August 29 and continue overnight in a campout in Kuala Lumpur.