No lawyers present as police call up ‘Parliament’ youths, say organisers

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad was among those who watched the proceedings of the Parlimen Digital event today. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: Young people at a virtual meeting of a mock Parliament were concerned when some members were called up to police stations for questioning, and others were approached by individuals claiming to be police, say the organisers.

A few participants were called to police stations for questioning, without any legal counsel present, while some others were invited out for “casual discussions” with individuals who identified themselves as policemen, the organisers said today.

“For any clarifications and request for information, we urge the police to contact us, the organisers. In the future, we do hope to engage the police earlier to ease them of any concerns they may have and we invite youth from the police academy to join us in future events,” they said in a statement today.

The event, called Parlimen Digital, was organised by four youth organisations and held via videoconferencing over the weekend.

The organisers said the event was “a safe space for youths to debate pressing issues affecting youth and to propose their ideas for a better Malaysia”. Participants had previously met political leaders, cabinet members and MPs and state assembly members.

Some of the 222 youth representatives were reportedly contacted by police once their virtual sitting ended yesterday, which led to protests by PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh and Seri Delima assemblyman Syerleena Abdul Rashid who were among those who questioned the involvement of the police.

Anwar said the home minister and police should explain why some of the participants were questioned, while Ramkarpal said investigations should be halted immediately.

The virtual Parliament was organised by Challenger Malaysia, Undi 18, Liga Rakyat Demokratik and United Nations Association Malaysia Youth.

Saturday’s debate revolved on measures to stimulate the economy, which brought up proposals such as a targeted basic income, raising the minimum wage, addressing gender inequality at workplaces and growing the nation’s digital economy.

Some 82.7% voted for the motion, while 10% were against and 7.3% abstained.

Today’s motion centred on the gaps in the education sector for those in the B40 income group, disabled people, stateless communities and other vulnerable members of society.

The lack of stable internet connections and of equipment for online classes were among matters raised. The vote was 88.3% in favour of the motion, 8.5% against with 3.2% abstaining.

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