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Selangor assemblyman blasts police for condoning criminals - malaysiakini

Malaysiakini's report:

The ‘serial harassment’ of cyclists in Jerit’s ‘Ride for Change’ campaign has irked Selangor’s Kota Damansara state representative Dr Nasir Hashim.

psm federal court pc 051006 nasir hashim“We condemn the recent arrests and roadblocks by the Penang and Johor police in order to harass and delay the Jerit cycling campaign which is gaining nationwide momentum,” he claimed in a statement today.

In the latest incident yesterday, at least eight bicycles were damaged in a fire started by unknown persons, when the cyclists put up for the night for their Penang stopover.

Responding, Penang deputy chief police officer Sallah Mat Rasid reportedly asked for the campaign to be called off, saying he has been informed that certain people are not happy with the Jerit’s demands.

“Instead of assuring democratic right for people to organise such an event peacefully, the (deputy) police chief seems to justify the arson attack on the bicycles. Is he supporting the attack?” asked Nasir.

Nasir, also Parti Sosialis Malaysia president, added that the campaign demands have been supported by various groups.

Campaign enters sixth day

Today marks the sixth day of the 16-day ‘Ride for Change’ tour from Alor Star, Kedah, to Kuala Lumpur organised by grassroots coalition, Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (Jerit).

jerit ride for change bicycle tour 051208 01The campaign, involving 50 activists, is Jerit’s attempt to raise awareness of issues plaguing the country such as food shortage, environmental problems, draconian laws and economic problems.

The group is scheduled to hand over a memorandum to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim at the end of their campaign.

However, their journey has been a rocky one and besieged with troubles. One cyclist was briefly detained by police in Kedah on Thursday, while the lorry transporting their bicycles across the Penang bridge was stopped on Friday. The bicycles were returned to the cyclists after a few hours.

skudai police stop bicycle campaign 061208 03On Saturday, 16 cyclists were arrested in Skudai, Johor even before the start of their campaign and were only released after about an hour of questioning.

Commenting on the incident in Johor, Nasir said the police should spend their time solving crimes instead of mounting roadblocks to arrest the cyclists.

“While many have (said) that Johor has one of the highest crime rates in the country, the police continue to use their manpower unnecessarily on roadblocks and teams to follow the cyclists,” he said in the statement.

Nasir himself will host the convoy next Tuesday when the cyclists pass his constituency -