December 9, 2008
It was the most tiring day so far for me and most people will not believe that I slept as early as 12.30 after midnight. That was the reason why i could not pen down our experience yesterday December 9, 2008. Let me recall as I sit in a cybercafe near the historical forts and heritage building in historical Melaka.
Yesterday morning, I was rudely woken up by Ngo at 4am who said that someone threw a stone at out Pajero car. Yes, half a brick smashed into out front window and at our bas parked outside teh shop house we were sleeping in. We had two activist sleeping in the Pajero at that time. They saw a familiar silver Proton waja car but the number plate was covered with a white masking
tape. We were baffled because the night before, the police were all around us and monitoring us 24 hours. Then suddenly this incident happens and the police was not around. I am sure you understand what was running in our head at that moment. We took a conscious decision not to lodge a police report because we were quite sure that this latest incident is yet another act to
give the police excuse to call off our nation wide campaign. We will not fall into that trap.
The incident strengthened our view that we are pedaling in the right direction.
The cyclist after unable the cycle a whole day because of rain were very determined to cycle. They cycled around Labis team aided by 4 youths whom we just met the day before and cycled towards Segamat. Half way through, we took the bus and lorry and headed towards Segamat. A few kilometers before Segamat town, a massive road block led by the OCPD Majid himself greeted us. It is interesting to note that all JERIT roadblocks are either manned by the OCPD or his Deputy. Here the Traffic chief summoned our van for having a banner saying that we did not get a permit to put a banner on our vehicle. Then a heated argument resulted in our van, trooper and lorry carrying cycle being taken to the IPD Segamat while the bus is released. The traffic chief said that he has no more issue but it is the other department. All this police "stories" ...we are getting used to it.
So we took the opportunity to hold a press conference at the Police station. Spoke to the OCPD Majid and a DAP lawyer Pang came to assist us. But the police as usual were so confused as before :
The OCPD told us
1)This is not an sizable offence. We are investigating under the Printting and Presses Act as they feel our rubber stamp with our address is not sufficient. Yet the day earlier Kluang police say everything is on order. Then they said it will take around 20 minutes
2) Then they said that statement must be recorded but since we said we will talk in court , they said it will only take 10 minutes each
3) Then they said they have to search and need some exhibit
4) Then they said, 2 of our people will be released on police bail
5) Are the 2 arrested? The OCPD said no while the Crime Chief said Yes.
After this comedy and bad PR performance by the police, which took all in not half an hour but more than 3 hours.
The cycling team then left to GEMAS , the border town between Negeri Sembilan dan Johor. We reached GEMAS once again by a roadblock led by the Deputy OCPD Isa. Another big argument erupted, another stand-off .Meanwhile police had also threatened our caterer. So we were angry and hungry. When we reached at our Rest House in GEMAS. a few SB were happily taking photos. We chased them out of the areas.
But we had many visitors...local people in GEMAS who wanted to help us distribute leflet, assist us and just be with us. It was the kind of solidarity and good heart which is keeping us going. Many heard this others. many wanted to be JERIT members.
It was a whole day of fighting and arguing with the police. The police have been saying that they are there to protect us but they are there only to harass and frustrate us. That night , we went to the GEMAS police station and told them to protect our bicycles. We then parked our bicycled in the lorry inside the police station. At least if something happen to our bicycle, we know who to blame.
So bye bye to Johor and thank you for the memories. Tomorrow we move to Melaka.