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KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 — Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said no one should be afraid of upholding their stance and opinion in a democratic society such as Malaysia.
The PKR president was referring to last Saturday’s mass march to Parliament in protest of the Election Commission’s delay in allowing 18-year-olds to vote — where several individuals who participated have since been called in by the police to provide statements.
“If there are any charges against them, it should be made openly and scrutinised by our independent judiciary,” Anwar said in a Facebook post.
He said the fact that participants of a peaceful demonstration are being called up by police for questioning is worrying.
“Presently there have been no announcements that the participants of the demonstration violated any standard operating procedures related to Covid-19.
“It has given me both the confidence and strength to witness the care displayed by these youths over the country, as well as the careful and peaceful manner in which they organised the demonstration without violating the pandemic-related SOPs,” he said.
Anwar called upon the police to follow in the example of these activists by displaying transparency so that Malaysia can be seen as a mature democracy even in these dim times.
“There are those of us who feel demonstrating is in line with the Federal Constitution’s guarantees, and any effort to erode these rights should soundly be called out,” he said.
Yesterday Malaysia United Democracy Alliance’s (Muda) Amir Abdul Hadi confirmed that 10 people including himself have been called in for questioning by the police over the demonstration.
The march saw 100 youths also stop by Padang Merbok, less than a kilometre from Parliament’s front gates, where they held a silent sitting vigil for 18 minutes as an additional gesture of protest for the initiative, called Undi18.
Among those seen participating include former education minister Maszlee Malik, Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah, former Batu MP Tian Chua and electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 among others.