Allow peaceful rallies, urges NGO
Published on: Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Pemuda Amanah Sabah called for immediate reforms to be made on peaceful rallies. "The long-standing perception that 'rallying is an opposition culture' should be disposed of in the New Malaysian government," said Pemuda Amanah Sabah Chief Khairuddin Daud in a statement, here, Monday.

He said in the new Malaysia, peaceful assemblies should be seen as practicable in a democratic country as long as it does not cause chaos.

"All instruments and access towards peaceful assemblies should be used to ensure that the people can exercise the rights properly," he added.

He was commenting on the incident where he and seven other youths were detained during a 'Pandang ke Sabah' peaceful assembly at the Lintasan Deasoka on Sunday.

The 9am rally organised by several student groups saw the eight, aged between 20 and 28, taken for questioning at the Karamunsing Police Station and were released at 5pm after police took their statements.

It was reported that they were detained after they allegedly refused to cooperate with police.

Khairuddin went on to say that if there is provocation in any rally, the matter should be handled fairly.

He said arresting participants during a peaceful rally is unfair as long as the participants do not trigger any public disorder.

"If the rally was started and ended peacefully, there was no reason for security enforcement to conduct investigations as it would only show the attitude of being unfriendly towards democracy," he said.

The rally was organised by 'Pandang ke Sabah' Himpunan Hari Malaysia comprising a collective of youths and students from Borneo Komrad, Free Read, Karma, Suara Mahasiswa, ISRA Kampus and Gagasan Siswa Merdeka.

The gathering held in conjunction with Malaysia Day was aimed at explaining 10 matters which are very close to the needs of the people of Sabah that should be taken seriously by the Pakatan Harapan government.

These are namely, education, security, customary land, employment opportunities, people's homes, citizenship, public transport, security at higher learning institutions and the Eastern Sabah Security Zone security.

Khairuddin said Pemuda Amanah Sabah attended the gathering to hear the issues raised by the students and young people of Sabah.

"We have earlier stated our stand after learning about the peaceful rally," he said.

He went on to say that the new government's attitude is inclusive and goes down to the ground to listen to the issues raised by the people.

"We are of the view that the issue presented by participants of the rally should be taken seriously by the State and Federal government," he said.

He said the rally which initially went smoothly in a relaxed setting, was provoked by those from City Hall and ended with the eight youths allegedly manhandled and detained.

"It is saddening, that when we talk about the New Malaysia, there is still an old mentality regarding peaceful rally in the new Malaysian government.

"There is even main government leader who still adhere to the old perception of the people's democratic rights…peaceful assemblies are still considered to be an opposition culture.

"Those who participate are labelled as having opposition mentality and the rights to rally is still denied despite having the rights to peaceful assembly and expressing ones voice is guaranteed under the Constitution," he said.

Their detention also drew the attention of Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu and Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman who denounced the arrests, saying such rally were a normal part of democracy.


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