KUALA LUMPUR, April 30 — Hundreds of Malaysian youths have gathered for a sit-in protest, calling for Parliament to immediately reconvene and the end of the state of Emergency, today.
Calling for democracy to prevail, the youths also carried placards with the message “Buka puasa, buka Parlimen” — a play on the Malay word referring to the act of its Muslim participants breaking their fast here this evening, and to reopen the Parliament.
Other placards including those saying “Rakyat Bangkit” (Malay for “People rise up”), “Tamat darurat” (“End the Emergency”), and calling for 18-year-olds to be allowed to vote.
Organised by a myriad of youth groups which dubbed themselves as Solidariti Rakyat, they listed six demands for Putrajaya: to end the state of Emergency and reconvene Parliament, to implement Undi 18 immediately, the enforcement of just and humane laws, strengthening the rights of Sabah and Sarawak, strengthening a safe education system for all Malaysians and the guarantee of a sustainable economy for the people.
Speaking to the press today, Solidariti Rakyat representative Tharma Pillai reiterated the need for Parliament to reconvene as a measure of checks and balance towards the government.
“A year has passed since the Covid-19 pandemic struck the country, however the people are increasingly pressured on a daily basis. Almost 800,000 have lost their jobs, 32 small and medium enterprises have shut their doors and the unemployment rate is at 4.8 per cent.
“What is more sad is that the standard operating procedures (SOP) introduced to curb the spread of the pandemic a year ago is still a mess. There is clearly a double standard in terms of enforcement as ministers and those with privilege are not facing stern actions, while ordinary citizens are fined in the tens of thousands.
“The youth’s rights are also taken away when the government decided to delta the implementation to lower the voting age from 21 to 18, even though the Undi18 bill had been decided to be implemented by July 2021,’’ said Tharma, who is also a co-founder of Undi18.
Also present among the crowd today was Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) secretary-general Amir Abdul Hadi, representatives from DAP Socialist Youth, PKR and Amanah youth members apart from ordinary Malaysian youth.