Wednesday, December 17, 2008


At National Service camps, teenagers are introduced to machine guns. But when they participate in a social awareness campaign, police regard them as children who are not old enough to ride a bicycle.'

Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar’s statement that the children had no clue about the campaign is an utter lie. This group of people have been following the campaign from Kedah, so please don’t tell us they didn’t know what they were cycling for.

Khalid also said that he saved the children from being exploited. This is another lie. It was the police, themselves under the instruction of Khalid, who exploited the children. They were arrested at a car park, surrounded by yellow tape, not allowed to move around, left to get wet in heavy rain and forced to spend the night in a police station. Their parents were also not allowed to enter the police station.

If Khalid really wants to save children, may I suggest he starts with the children of migrant workers, refugees, the poor, street children and child labourers. And what about children like Nurin Jazlin who was brutally killed and Sharlinie Nashar who is still missing. What have your men done for these girls?

Save and protect children who really need help. Not the children who have been cycling for the betterment of the nation.

Officially, the National Service programme can recruit conscripts starting from the age of 16. At the NS camps, these teenagers are introduced to machine guns. We would suppose that after they have completed their training, our teens would be ready to defend the country.

But when 16 to 17-year-olds participate in a social awareness campaign like Jerit, police regard them as children who are not old enough to ride a bicycle with their group of friends.

Abigail de Vries: I would like to ask the Selangor Police Chief who claimed that the arrest of the cyclists was "to prevent them from being exploited or misused by irresponsible groups", if the Malaysian police force is now in the habit of arresting people for their own protection. I am reminded of the same reason given for the arrest of a reporter under the ISA not long ago.

If that is so, then are we to expect the police to arrest the many people who need to be protected from being robbed or raped daily? This would indeed be a novel approach to law enforcement.

It’s a wonder that the police don’t already have their hands full, what with the rampant crime in our city streets that they would want to add to their case load by arresting people for cycling!

Please Khalid, times are hard. Why not save our precious tax-payer ringgit and arrest real criminals instead of ordinary citizens peacefully trying to exercise their rights and raise awareness of important issues. I fail to see what the crime in that is.

The Selangor Police Chief has indeed made a mockery of democracy and the rakyat's peaceful efforts to highlight to the prime minister and his line of men and women, the needs of the people.

The campaign aims to highlight the plight of marginalised communities and concerned citizens have taken up this noble role of cycling across the nation to responsibly inform both the rakyat and our leaders of their needs and demands for improvement.

An MP who prior to becoming an MP had already served the rakyat, an uncommon sight among leaders today, was charged for all the wrong reasons. There were consent letters given by parents but still the police chief refused to acknowledge the altruistic role played by the highly respected MP Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj.

I urge the police to withdraw the charge against this fearless MP.

It is also disturbing to note that children were held overnight at the police station and food was not provided until much later.

The police chief has to apologise for his lack of concern for the overall safety and needs of the children he booked for an activity that is peaceful in nature.

(Petikan: Malaysiakini)

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