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Questions over 'unusual' police presence at Terengganu motorbike gathering

Himpunan RXZ Members 5.0 organisers say the police presence at this year's event was unusually strong.

2 minute read
Participants seen at the Himpunan RXZ Members 5.0 gathering in Terengganu last weekend. Photo: Facebook
Participants seen at the Himpunan RXZ Members 5.0 gathering in Terengganu last weekend. Photo: Facebook

Questions have been raised about the strong police presence at an annual motorcycle gathering that brought together some 60,000 participants in Terengganu last weekend, with organisers describing it as a first in the five times the programme had been held so far. 

Himpunan RXZ Members 5.0 had sought to create a record gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts, attracting participants from within and outside of the country. 

Its organiser Mohamad Faizal Mat Ali said while the police had monitored previous gatherings, they had stopped at setting up roadblocks in districts and border areas. 

Describing their behaviour this time around as "aggressive", he said the latest roadblocks had been unusual. 

He added that there had been no roadblocks whatsoever during the last programme in 2022 which was officiated by then prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob. 

"We don't understand the different treatment this time," he told MalaysiaNow, adding that the event had received the green light from the authorities. 

"Some said we would have to invite the prime minister to officiate this newest programme to avoid such action. 

"Actually, we did invite him but there was no response."

Police in Terengganu had denied sabotaging the event, with state police chief Mazli Mazlan saying they acted with the Road Transport Department (JPJ) upon receiving complaints about a number of motorcyclists who had behaved recklessly and disturbed public order. 

He also dismissed suggestions of political elements, saying the operation was a routine exercise to maintain public safety. 

According to him, a total of 185 motorcycles were impounded and 292 summonses issued throughout the course of two days, around the Kuala Nerus and Kuala Terengganu districts. 

Seventy-three accidents were also reported, four of which were fatal.

Terengganu JPJ director Zulkarnain Yasin meanwhile said that 134 offences were recorded although only 1.34% of the participants were arrested for breaking the law. 

Speaking to MalaysiaNow, Faizal acknowledged the misconduct of some of the participants.

"Wrongdoing is wrongdoing, this we admit," he said. "We do not deny that some of them did not follow the law. 

"We understand the duty of the police, but we are disappointed at the excessive restrictions, even right at the entrance. At the front entrance and the back. It was as though we were being surrounded." 

Faizal said the programme at the Gong Badak circuit had been the biggest gathering yet. 

He expressed regret that some had linked it to politics due to its location in a state governed by Perikatan Nasional. 

He said the state government had nothing to do with the programme which was a motor club event. 

"Terengganu happened to be the venue since all of the organisers are from Terengganu, so we got a permit to hold the programme here.

"There are no political links at all. Even the invitations we gave to state government representatives were out of courtesy, for allowing us to hold the event in Terengganu. 

"And we didn't only invite individuals from the state government. Like I said, we invited Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim as well, just that there was no response."