Parlimen Digital participants broke no laws

WE refer to the troubling news of police approaching and questioning some participants in the youth-led Parlimen Digital session recently.

It is gravely concerning that the authorities are investigating the involvement of youth in the initiative, to the point where a few participants were called to the police station for questioning, allegedly without 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 it is an act of intimidation meant to discourage and deter youth from being vocal and involved in political discourse, a part of the worrisome trend of police probes into political dissenters.

Parlimen Digital is meant to be a non-partisan platform for youth, simulating parliamentary 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.

Youth involvement in political discourse should be lauded and encouraged as it signals a brighter future for Malaysia’s democracy, and any action by the authorities to harass them must be strongly condemned.

The authorities must immediately cease all investigations into Parlimen Digital organisers and participants, and we strongly urge the government to ensure that the rakyat’s fundamental liberties are preserved and upheld at all times. – July 6, 2020.

* Lawyers for Liberty is a human rights and law reform initiative.

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight.

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