No laws broken, rights group says on virtual Parliament session

Lawyers for Liberty says youth should be encouraged to participate in political discourse.

PETALING JAYA: Rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) today questioned the police investigation into a group of youth who had participated in a virtual Parliament session, saying no laws were broken in the initiative.

LFL coordinator Zaid Malek said reports of police approaching and questioning the youth were troubling, adding that the probe was unwarranted.

“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,” he said in a statement.

The virtual Parliament session, known as Parlimen Digital, was an initiative by Challenger Malaysia, Undi 18, Liga Rakyat Demokratik and United Nations Association Malaysia Youth to demonstrate how the legislative body could convene on an online platform.

Some of the 222 youth representatives were reportedly contacted by the police once the virtual sitting ended on Saturday.

LFL noted claims that some of the participants were called for questioning without the presence of legal counsel, saying the initiative was meant to be a non-partisan platform for youths to simulate Parliament proceedings.

“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,” it said.

Adding that youth involvement in political discourse should be encouraged, it urged the authorities to end all investigations into organisers and participants and to ensure that the people’s fundamental liberties are upheld at all times.

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