Jerit cycling campaign facing more problems

Earlier, some bicycles of the Jerit campaign were set on fire. Whether or not the arsonists have been identified, is still left to be seen.

Now, it seems, the problems faced by this Jerit campaign are becoming more and more by the day. According to Anil HERE, 44 people have been taken into Kuala Kangar police station.

Jerit’s nothern cyclist team, 44 cyclists in all, are being taken to the Kuala Kangar police station. The police  want the ICs of the young cyclists, according to one of the organisers. Organisers, however, are not handing over the ICs as they are afraid that the parents of the youths will be harassed. The organisers have offered their own ICs instead.

I’m not sure why this is happening. Why is this campaign getting so much of this unwanted attention from the police?

According to Anil as well:

One journalist told me his story on the Jerit campaign was spiked; his senior at the newspaper had told him the paper is simply not interested in rural stories or those from the plantations. “Focus on the urban issues,” he was told, and not on rural areas or on grassroots communities.

I am of the opinion that the Jerit campaign is really not so much just a “rural” or “grassroots” campaign. It is also very much an urban problem as well. The 6-point memorandum of this Jerit campaign include:

  • A minimum wage
  • The repeal of oppressive laws such as the ISA
  • An end to the privatisation of public utilities.
  • Price controls for essential items
  • The return of local council elections
  • Decent, affordable homes for the people

Which part of that list is exclusively a rural issue? I’m sure urbanites are also concerned about affordable homes. I’m sure city folk also use the same essential  items that rural folk use, which prices are hitting the ceiling, and going beyond.

And I fail to understand why there is so much “unease”, to be mild about it, over this campaign. These issues are not new, and neither are they exclusive. These are issues that I assume most Malaysians, if not all, would like to see improved on.

So why is there so much going on, attempting to stop this campaign?

5 Comments on “Jerit cycling campaign facing more problems”

  1. bangmalaysia says:

    One Jerit member was alleged to have been sexually assaulted,

    “The police have arrested 4 JERIT coordinators, Ranee, Sugumaran, Karthi, Jothi , the bus driver plus bus full of participants detained.
    YB Dr Jeyakumar, Sungai Siput MP also arrested
    Helen( another JERIT coordinator) – was sexually assaulted, breasts grabbed and punched on the face . She is bleeding now.”
    Yea, I just read about it too. If this is true, it is becoming more ridiculous than I imagined.

  2. hrforall says:

    Yes Michelle, I am so so outraged and angry by this serial harrasment of the Jerit cyclists and patriots. Are the authorities thinking that they are a worse menace than the Mat Rempits??

  3. bangmalaysia says:

    The National Secretariat of JERIT will be submitting a memorandum to SUHAKAM protesting the police intimidation and harrasment on the JERIT Cycling Team .
    Details of the programme is as below :
    Date : 10/12/2008
    Time : 12 pm
    Place : SUHAKAM Office

    Please show your support for JERIT!!

  4. Crankshaft says:

    So why is there so much going on, attempting to stop this campaign?

    Because if Malaysians aren’t made aware of issues via a campaign, be it cycling or walking en mass, they will continue to go on living in blissful ignorance.

    The realisation that other people feel the same way will motivate others to come together.

    The government knows this and cannot afford to have the people uniting together.

  5. Gadfly says:

    It is rather revealing that the editorial policy is to focus on ‘urban’ rather than ‘rural’ issues. It reminds newspaper readers that what they read is actually what the editors and their bosses want the readers to focus on and what to ignore.

    Of course no one can focus everything all at the same time. The issue is whether the media framing is racist and classist. We often find that when the poor is depicted in the media, it is about character deficits or moral failings of crime and substance abuse and not about class privileges and inequality. Otherwise, they are invisible or transparent.

    Another important issue is how the media attributes the causes of poverty. Research studies show that people tend to hold 3 explanations of poverty: 1) Blame the victim – it is all their fault. They are lazy, stupid or lack of will. 2) Structural causes and 3) Fate or karma.

    If the cause is attributed to personal failings, then the state should not provide the social safety to help them. If it is of social economic causes, then there should be structural reforms to eliminate poverty. However, the issue of poverty is so racialised and distorted in Malaysia that the deserving poor or the underclass are invisible.

    Jerit is doing a worthy cause to highlight the ‘invisible’.

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