Malaysia Today
Buka Puasa, Buka Parlimen: Youth Break Fast in front of Malaysia Parliament in Protest.

Buka Puasa, Buka Parlimen
© Hari Anggara/Malay Mail

Hundreds of youth marcher in front of Malaysia parliament on Friday, 30th April 2021 to demand it’s reopening. Which they called “Buka Puasa, Buka Parlimen” which mean “Break the Fast, Open Parliament” (a play on the Malay word).

A flashback to what happened on early of this year, on 12th January 2021, Yang-di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Ahmad Shah has consented to a Declaration of Emergency Proclamation based on Clause (1) Article 150 of the Federal Constitution. His Majesty also gave his consent for this period of emergency to take effect until August 1 or an earlier date if the number of daily Covid-19 figures can be effectively controlled and lowered. When national emergency is announced that means, Yang di-Pertuan Agong has the power to enact laws without the need to go through the Parliament, Election will not be held, Dewan Rakyat will not convene, and more.

The protest organised by a group known as Sekretariat Solidariti Rakyat (SSR) – an ad hoc umbrella body for youth groups. The group marched from Tugu Negara to the gates of parliament where they gather before Muslim participants broke fast.

With health protocol being implemented of course! They ensured that they wearing mask and social distancing from one another. The youth held a placards with message “Rakyat Bangkit” (Peope Rise up), “Tamat darurat” (“End the Emergency”) and “Enam Tuntutan” or “Six Demands” which we going to elaborate more in this article.

This is not the first protest held by SSR, on the first protest on 27th March, SSR demand to the government to implement the lowering of the voting age to 18, better known as Undi18. On this time around they added 5 more:

  1. Reconvening legislative meetings in parliament

We demand that the government open parliament so that all government plans and expenditures can be scrutinized by parliamentarians and the people of Malaysia. End of emergency now because it proved ineffective against covid-19

  1. Strengthening a safe education system for all Malaysian

We urge that the vaccine be given immediately to teachers and school staff to prevent the spread of Covid -19 infection clusters in educational institutions. The government should also urgently provide gadgets and study aids to students as well as assistance incentives to teachers to provide online teaching materials.

  1. Guarantee the sustainable economy for the people

We demand that the government implement a job security scheme, extension of automatic moratorium, cash assistance and adjustment of minimum wage.

  1. Fair and humane law enforcement.

We demand impartial implementation of the law so as to provoke polemics between the two degrees. We also call for laws that violate human dignity to be repealed.

  1. Strengthening the rights of Sabah and Sarawak

We demand that the rights of sabah and sarawak be restored so that the economic gap, education and basic infrastructure can be closed with peninsular Malaysia.

  1. Implementation of the vote 18 immediately

We urge the government to implement a reduction in the voting age by July 2021.

In report by MalaysiaKini, Tharma Pillai, who leads a pressure group on Undi18, said that youths are angry because their suffering has exacerbated after a year of facing the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Businesses are closing and the unemployment rate is at 4.8 percent. What saddens us most is that the Covid-19 protocols are still a mess.

"Yet, there is clearly double standards in terms of enforcement because ministers and the elite are not punished, while normal folks are saddled with huge fines," he added.

Recently, a burger seller in Kelantan was fined RM 50,000 for cooking after operating hours, although the proprietor said he was cooking orders for the next day and there were no customers in his stall at the time.

Instead of positive respond, police question the participants of the protest if they notify the police before doing this protest? The participants were being investigated under section 9 (5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012. The section stipulates that organisers need to notify the police of an assembly 10 days before the date of the event. If not, they could be fined a maximum of RM 10,000 if convicted.

Democracy is being tested to the government especially on this difficult time. Up until now there is still no response from the government.