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The Malaysian Youth and Students Democratic Movement (Dema) calls for the government to restore to the people their right to religious freedom. We are, in particular, referring to the arrest last week of 21 followers of the Sky Kingdom and their leader Ayah Pin .

Dema strongly holds that the authorities' action against Ayah Pin and his followers is unconstitutional and uncalled for. Freedom of religion and freedom of association are fundamental human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Moreover, Article 3(1) of our Constitution also indicates that 'other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation'. This was intended to establish the freedom of worship for all Malaysians. Religion is a personal issue and it is an individual's right to choose his or her own faith.

Dema is aware that the government may use on Ayah Pin and his followers the draconian law which permits detention without trial. The ISA has previously been used by the authorities to threaten and pressure this groups of citizens who are only trying to observe their religious beliefs like everyone else in this country.

The government should not to impose its own version of religion upon the people forcibly.

The writer is Dema's secretary for national affairs.