1 Malaysia Patriotic Cycle organizers left red-faced
by Harish Deol
HUNDREDS of bicycles provided to participants of the recent 1Malaysia Patriotic Cycle went missing after the entrants rode them home at the end of the event, leaving the organisers embarrassed.
It is not immediately known how many of the 5,000 bicycles went missing but apparently, even the bicycle used by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has disappeared.
A participant, who did not wish to be named, said: "It was horrible as the participants were all rushing to take the bikes home. It is so unbecoming and reflects poorly on Malaysians."
"The Youth and Sports Ministry was the biggest loser as many of their bicycles were carted away.
There was no proper monitoring due to the large volume of riders," a source in the ministry said.
Some 10,000 people, including cabinet ministers, took part in the event on April 3 in a 12km ride around Putrajaya. The bicycles came from various organisations including the Youth and Sports Ministry, Yayasan 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and Putrajaya Corporation.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek offered no excuses, saying it was a "learning experience" for all those involved.
"We thought we could trust the participants with the bicycles. We didn't want to make life difficult for them by asking them to leave their documents or MyKad with us. I guess we learned the hard way," said Ahmad Shabery.
"In Europe, people are accustomed to bicycle rentals where after use, they park it back at the station. Perhaps Malaysians are still not familiar with the concept of returning something that has been loaned."
On the number of bicycles that went missing and the cost incurred by the ministry, Ahmad Shabery said he has yet to receive a full report on the incident.
"I hope there weren't many bicycles that were not returned. They are recreational bicycles and were bought in bulk so the cost is not as high as some may think.
"Perhaps we need to get people to leave their identity cards before they take something from us. We don't like holding people's ICs but after this incident, we don't have much choice," Ahmad Shabery said.
Putrajaya Corporation corporate communications senior deputy director Zahara Salamat said the company loaned 50 of their bicycles from Taman Botani for the event.
"The bicycles were loaned and not given out for free. We know who we gave our bicycles to, mostly VVIPs, as it is all documented as per our procedure.
"A handful have yet to be returned. I can't say more than that as this matter is still being investigated."1MDB operations director Jofa Hilmi refused to comment on the matter, saying the question should be addressed to Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia instead.
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