Shortly after his arrival in Kota Kinabalu for the Malaysia Day celebrations tonight, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman took time to meet the eight youth activists who were arrested during their peaceful demonstration this morning.
As of about 4pm, the eight activists were still being held at the Karamunsing police station where they were taken to have their statements recorded.
"Had a chance to meet with the (Kota Kinabalu) OCPD (Habibi Majinji), investigating officer, and legal adviser, in relations to arrests of eight youths involved in a peaceful demonstration.
"I was given the assurance that they would be released soon and the allegations of violence against them would be investigated," Syed Saddiq said on Twitter.
Malaysiakini earlier quoted one of the arrested activists, Asrin Utong, as claiming that police had manhandled the protesters in an attempt to disperse the rally held outside Kota Kinabalu City Hall building.
In a live video shared by another of those arrested, NGO Borneo Komrad founder Mukmin Nantang, protesters can be seen in a brief scuffle with DBKK and police officers after refusing to obey an order to end the rally.
Amanah Youth vice-chief Shazni Munir Mohamad Ithnin earlier condemned the arrests.
The Malay Mail reported, however, that Warisan deputy minister Azis Jamman said the protest was "unnecessary" as the new government is open to facilitate discussions on any concerns raised.
He also reportedly chastised Sabah Amanah Youth chief Khairuddin Daud, who was among those arrested, for failing to know better than to hold a protest without a permit.
In a separate Facebook post, Azis post shared a photograph where he accompanied Parti Warisan Sabah president Mohd Shafie Apdal to visit Amanah president Mohamad Sabu and other Amanah leaders who were present to attend the celebrations tonight.
Azis in his post also said he took note of the incident and Khairuddin's arrest, but did not elaborate further on whether there were any discussions with Amanah top leaders on the subject.