HUNDREDS of Malaysian youths recently gathered for a sit-in protest, calling for Parliament to immediately reconvene and the state of Emergency to end.
Organised by a number of youth groups that called themselves ‘Solidariti Rakyat’, they listed six demands to Putrajaya to address the people’s plight during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The six demands include calling on Putrajaya to work for the people by ending the Emergency and reconvening Parliament, and implementing Undi18 immediately.
The others are guaranteeing the independence of the people’s economy, consolidating the education system to ensure a safe learning space for all Malaysians, the impartial and humane enforcement of the law, and for Sabah and Sarawak rights to be strengthened.
The police has since said that the gathering was an offence and that it will be calling up the participants of the rally to give their statements.
In fact, the participants will be investigated under Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 for allegedly not applying for police permit to hold the event.
But while the right to peaceful assembly, and the fact that the event was simply a peaceful gathering of Malaysians breaking fast together are crucial points in this narrative, this is a
story for another day.
More important here are the issues that have been raised during the rally. These are issues relating to the country’s wellbeing, and the Government must not be blind and deaf to the people’s plight, especially during the pandemic.
In the case of Undi18, there has been increasing dissatisfaction about the Election Commission’s (EC) recent announcement on the implementation timeline of lowering the voting age to 18 years old and automatic voter registration.
As for the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, many Malaysians have felt that the present government is not doing enough. This is amidst the Government’s various U-turns, confusing standard operating procedures (SOPs) and displays of double standards.
These are the issues that must be urgently addressed by the relevant authorities. Rather than going after the people who have brought these crucial issues to the forefront, perhaps it is time that the Government hit the reset button on how these issues have been managed in the past, and start afresh.
If the level of dissatisfaction among the rakyat is of any indication, much is at stake here, chief of them all is the wellbeing of the people. – May 5, 2021
Photo credit: Malay Mail