1310: 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.
This is the third time today the bus from Kamunting to Sungai Siput has been stopped. The first time was when the bus was stopped and officers wanted to inspect the driver’s permit.
In the second incident, police caught two Dema students, Ooi Choon Nam and Yat Chat Wah, giving out leaflets at the Bukit Gantang rest area. They have been taken to the Taiping police station. (Phone 05-829 1222).
The third and latest incident occured at the Kuala Kangsar exit. The cycling team are now being brought to the Kuala Kangsar police station. (Phone 05-776 2222)
“They (the authorities) are uncomfortable with the campaign,” says Sungai Siput MP Jeyakumar Devaraj. “They are trying to find something technical to stop it.”
The Jerit southern team have also encountered more problems this time in the Segamat area.
The corporate mainstream media are not particularly interested in the Jerit cycling campaign as the cyclists are seen as representing rural and poorer Malaysians. Unfortunately, our media editors think the concerns of these Malaysians are of no concern to urban Malaysians; the corporate media owners are more interested in ad revenue and pandering to the interests of urban middle-class and well-heeled readers.
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.
That’s the sad reality of our mainstream and corporate media. Many bloggers and NGOs too appear more concerned about urban issues. Who will speak up for rural Malaysians or those in grassroots communities?