The authorities must not harass those involved in Parlimen Digital
6 July 2020
We refer to the troubling news of police approaching and questioning some of the participants of the recent youth-led Parlimen Digital session.
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.
Youth involvement in political discourse should be lauded and encouraged as it is signalling 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 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.
Lawyers for Liberty