Lawyers group condemns cops’ harassment of Parlimen Digital participants

Zaid said that youth involvement in political discourse should be lauded and encouraged. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Zaid said that youth involvement in political discourse should be lauded and encouraged. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, July 6 — The police should stop their “unwarranted probe” into the participants of the recent youth-led Parlimen Digital session as they have not broken any laws, said human rights advocate group, Lawyers for Liberty.

In a statement issued by the group’s coordinator, Zaid Malek, he pointed that the organiser was merely exercising their freedom of expression, which is protected under Article 10(1) of the Federal Constitution, and any action taken against them is a flagrant abuse of their rights.

“It is gravely concerning that the authorities are probing the involvement of youths in the Parlimen Digital initiative, to the point where a few of the participants were even called to the police station for questioning, allegedly without any legal counsel present.

“This unwarranted probe is highly questionable as these participants have not broken any laws to prompt a police investigation. Since the authorities have not stated why they are questioning the participants, we can only conclude that this is an act of intimidation meant to discourage and deter youths from being vocal and involved in political discourse, a part of the worrisome trend of recent police probes on political dissenters.

“The Parlimen Digital initiative is meant to be a non-partisan platform for youths to simulate parliament proceedings to discuss and debate pressing issues affecting young people in Malaysia. The organisers, as well as the participants, are merely exercising their freedom of expression, which is protected under Article 10(1) of the Federal Constitution, and any action taken against them is a flagrant abuse of their rights,’’ he said.

Zaid also stated that youth involvement in political discourse should be lauded and encouraged as it is a sign of Malaysia’s democracy and any action by the authorities to harass them must be strongly condemned.

“The authorities must immediately cease all investigations into the organisers and participants of Parlimen Digital and we strongly urge the government to ensure that the Rakyat’s fundamental liberties are preserved and upheld at all times,’’ he said.

This follows news last Saturday that several representatives from the youth-led Parlimen Digital initiative were contacted by the police after their virtual Parliament sitting ended on the same day.

The session, which was planned over two months ago, was chaired by constitutional lawyer Lim Wei Jiet and ended with 222 youth representatives passing a motion on the need for the government to launch an economic booster package specifically for youths.

Local police from the several parliament constituencies concerned had reached out to the representatives.

They were allegedly contacted via social media, including through Instagram.


 

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