Professional cyclist Hariff Saleh clarified the cycling event involving Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz was to “celebrate” his presence in the state.
Hariff, who cycles for Terengganu Inc. TSG Cycling Team, had posted a video on his Instagram two days ago showing him and Tengku Zafrul cycling with several other cyclists, including Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar in Kuala Terengganu.
They were escorted by police as roads were blocked.
“It was organised by TSG Group to celebrate the Finance Minister who was in Kuala Terengganu (for a two-day visit),” explained Hariff.
“We started from the Menteri Besar’s official residence and cycled 9km to Pantai Teluk Ketapang.
“We know he is a cycling enthusiast and is passionate about the sport. The cycling community is small anyway.”
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Tengku Zafrul had also posted pictures of the night activity on his Instagram account two days ago.
While cycling, he also visited the Viewing Deck Terengganu Drawbridge to get a detailed explanation about the structure being a tourist attraction and a symbol of development in the east coast state.
Questions were raised why the minister and other officials enjoyed police escort with sections of the roads blocked while cycling at night as the same luxury is not accorded to national cyclists.
National athletes, especially road cyclists, are usually only escorted by a team van during training. This has led to several accidents in the past.
In 2017, several Malaysian para-cyclists were injured in a hit-and-run accident while cycling in Cameron Highlands.
In 2012, national cyclist Mariana Mohamed suffered serious injuries on her right hand and leg after being involved in a road accident while training at Presint 2, Putrajaya.
Three other riders who were also in the group suffered minor injuries after they were knocked down by a car.