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Malaysiakini's report:

Today was not a good day for Jerit cyclists anywhere in the country. Some 50 of them, mostly teenage schoolchildren, had huffed and puffed on their bicycles on an 80 kilometre ride to Georgetown this afternoon to deliver a six-point memorandum to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.


jerit cycling campaign 081208 choo choon kai and jamaluddinHowever, as they were waiting for Lim outside the Traders Hotel, a group of policemen, led by Jalan Patani police station chief, one Chief Inspector Jamaluddin, manhandled and tried to drag away the event’s northern region co-ordinator Choo Choon Kai, 30.

Even though Choo told Jamaluddin that he was there on a pre-arranged appointment with Lim, who was attending an international economic conference at the hotel, the police officer refused to listen.

"I don’t care (about Lim’s appointment). I want you all to disperse now," he warned Choo.

A tug war ensued between policemen and some cyclists, as both groups tried to claim Choo.

However, the commotion stopped abruptly when Lim arrived at the scene to receive the memorandum.

The memorandum called on the federal government to legislate a minimum wage, repeal the draconian Internal Security Act, provide comfortable homes to all citizens, restore local government elections, exert control over prices of essential goods and stop privatisation of basic essential services.

jerit cycling campaign 081208 submit memo to lim guan engLim, who received a copy of the memorandum from Jerit representative Lee Huat Seng, assured cyclists that the Penang government fully supported their cause.

Curious hotel guests

Today was the fourth day of a 16-day tour from Alor Star to Kuala Lumpur organised by grassroots coalition Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (Jerit).

The hotel management was also unco-operative today, shutting down entrance doors and denying cyclist entry into the hotel. An officer, known only as Samy, called on the cyclists to disperse saying that hotel guests were "terrified" by their presence.

A check with a hotel guest, known only as Elizabeth, however, revealed that most guests were more curious, than terrified.

"We were just curious about who the cyclists were," said Elizabeth, who declined to be photographed -