Press Statement 15/12/2008
POLICE GIVES MISLEADING STATEMENT:
STOP ALL HARRASMENT NOW!
Today the Deputy IGP Tan Sri Ismail Omar had urged to public not to participate in the JERIT's campaign claiming that it is an unregistered organization, and we do not have permits and if the public takes part it is a criminal offence.
1. Deputy IGP: WHO IS THE MASTERMIND BEHIND THE JERIT CAMPAIGN? The main question in yesterday's papers ( 14/12/2008)
· JERIT or JARINGAN RAKYAT TERTINDAS is in existence since year 2002. It is a network of four coalition Factory Workers Coalitions (GPKK), Plantation Workers Coalition( JSML), Student and Youth Coalition( GAMP), Urban Settlers Coalition( GPBP) and NGOs. Since 2002 we have been involved in various community issues. Political parties and other NGO support our campaigns and our work. To date , 47 organisations , MPs and State Assemblymen endorse our Bicycle campaign
· JERIT has been an active coalition and has been quoted many times in newspapers and electronic media, has an active website and have been invited to speak in many programmes even govement programmes, so it is suprising that the police have only now discovered JERIT
2. JERIT is an illegal organization ?
· JERIT is a registered organization just like SUARAM, Tenaganita and most NGOs who are not registered under the Society Act but another act. Thus, JERIT is also registered under a different act. Furthermore, JERIT is a coalition of different coalitions such as the students coalition, factory workers coalition, plantation workers coalition and also NGOS. Coalitions like JERIT, BERSIH or Gabungan Mansuhkan ISA need not be registered as it's a coalition of different organizations
3. Is JERIT using underage children for the campaign ?
The organizers took all necessary precaution as there is participation of school children. Among the steps taken are :
i. Briefing to their parents
ii. Getting consent from their parents
iii. Checking on the participants health status
iv. We have also barred any children below the age of 12 to participate in this campaign
v. After the police warning, we have once again advised the cyclist and their parents. ,almost all of them have decided to continue to participate in the campaign
vi. The organizers could be found guilty if children are participating without their free will under the Child Protection Bill
vii. All participants have been insured
viii. Many organizations also feel that the participation of the youths is good as they are doing something worthwhile for the nation during their school holidays.
ix. Furthermore, SUHAKAM and BAR Council have endorsed this campaign. JERIT feels that SUHAKAM and BAR Council have more credibility and their endorsement carries more weight compared to the police's statement.
4. Is the campaign exploited by political parties for their own interest ?
· On the issue of this campaign is used by certain political parties for their interest, we would like to reiterate here that this campaign is to highlight the aspiration for the people. In the early part of this campaign, we sent letter to all political parties, asking for endorsement for this campaign. Only Pakatan Rakyat parties, and Parti Socialist Malaysia endorsed this campaign. Many NGOs and MTUC also endorsed this campaign. So what is the problem if the endorsing groups participate and support the campaign?
· For your information, political parties as a whole cannot be members of the coalition. Nevertheless, individuals from political parties can be members of JERIT.
· Some founder and active members of JERIT are also members of PSM
· But all decisions of JERIT are made independently by the National Exco , National Congress and National Secretariat of JERIT. No political parties can interfere or intervene in decision made by JERIT
5. On the issue of JERIT activists being detained under the Printing and Publications Act
· Currently police have recorded statement from our members in Kulim, Segamat , and Semenyih. Police have informed us that they will refer the matter to the DPP whether to charge us or not. We have meanwhile obtained the advice of Malaysian Bar Council and SUHAKAM and we intend to challenge this in court. We believe the freedom to disseminate information is a human right . The police action is curtailing this principle.
6. Is the campaign ILLEGAL and taking part in it is a criminal offence ?
· Despite the intimidation by the police through the media and other means yet the campaign has received tremendous support from the general public who have signed petitions , who have taken leaflets to be distributed , and support the cyclists by preparing food for them, accommodation and also welcoming them. This campaign has been endorses by 47 groups and MPs and State Assemblymen including the MTUC, ALIRAN, SUARAM, FOMCA.
· JERIT's memorandum have been received the State Government's in Kedah, Penang, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Johor.
· So far 3 Chief Ministers , YAB Tan Sri Khalid , MB Selangor, YAB Dato' Nizar , MB Perak and YAB Lim Guan Eng , CM of Penang have personally endorsed this campaign.
JERIT has been very responsible from day 1. We have notified the police and have given them our contact numbers. We have also faxed our letters to all state CPOs. The least the police could have done is communicated with us. Meanwhile currently the local district police in some of the districts have been sympathetic and have not resorted into harassment. They also claim that they are doing this under instruction.