They were among 30 university students involved in the project dubbed "simultaneous distribution of a million GST pamphlets throughout Sabah", organised by the Gabungan Mahasiswa Islam Se-Malaysia (Gamis) Sabah led by its Chairman Fathihie Daimin.
"Participants began distributing pamphlets in Sandakan, Tawau, Lahad Datu, Ranau, Kundasang as well as Kota Belud at about 10am," said Fathihie, adding that the project was also held in conjunction with the rally to protest the GST held at Dataran Merdeka in the peninsula the same day.
They were divided into several groups and they distributed pamphlets to four zones, namely from Putatan to Papar, Kingfisher to Sepanggar, Penampang to Inanam and around the city centre.
Fathihie said their detention was uncalled for, particularly since they were detained without police explaining the reason for their arrest.
"There is no such thing as us going to the streets and causing unrest, our objective is to provide information to the people by distributing pamphlets and giving public talks to explain what GST is all about.
"This is what the government should do, to go down to the ground and explain to the people directly instead of depending on the media to channel such information and assuming that everyone will understand what GST is," he said.
He said the government should make sure that people really understand what GST is before making proposals for it to be implemented.
In Labuan, three university students were detained in Taman Muhibbah Bandar Labuan while staging a flash mob to explain issues concerning GST and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
Pro Mahasiswa UMSKAL Chairman Jamhuri Mohamed who led the group said 30 university students were involved in the flash mob which began at about 1pm when police came and detained the trio.
All those detained were released the same day after having their statements recorded.