Vigneswaran's rude awakening

Opinion  |  Mariam Mokhtar
Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | For decades, we were subject to Umno-Baru/BN's rule of fear. Their leaders could do anything they liked. They were arrogant, conceited and had little respect for the ordinary man, or the rule of law.

Last week, one former BN man, received a massive shock. Life as he once knew it, had ended. For decades, he and men of his ilk were at the top, but on 10 May, when they fell flat on their faces, they were unable to behave as normal people.

Moreover, they had what Malays call "sudah jadi lemak" (become spoilt and lazy), and did not want to relinquish their perks and power.

Poor SA Vigneswaran! He learnt from his arrogant peers in Umno-Baru and MIC, how to behave as someone at the top of the greasy political ladder.

The lessons are simple. Anyone else is expected to fawn over him, but when someone kisses the top man's hand, your lips must linger longer than the other minions; when others prostrate themselves to appease the head honcho, you do more, and hope you do not have a face-plant, from over-bending.

These Umno-Baru/BN men are like prisoners who spend decades on parole, and struggle to cope in real life when they are released. Gone is their timetable of when to eat, when to exercise and when to talk to others. Being institutionalised had altered their behaviour.

MIC's president Vigneswaran is also the Dewan Negara president. These two positions should command respect and responsibility - but all too often power gets to their heads and they become arrogant. When they are challenged, their inner demons are released. Rules are meant to control the masses, and do not apply to them.

On Nov 14, Vigneswaran received a rude awakening when he committed the equivalent of being found with his knickers in a twist. He had breached security protocols at the VIP services of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

In a press conference, the Transport Minister, Anthony Loke Siew Fook, showed a video of Vigneswaran flouting strict protocol. With egg on his face, Vigneswaran attempted to paint himself as the victim of a "childish" political vendetta. He also accused Loke of staging a trial by media by exposing him in the video.

He said, “I don’t recognise kangaroo courts,” and demanded that Loke apologises to him, instead. Why should Loke do that?

The arrogant Vigneswaran blamed Loke for not having the decency and fairness, to hear his side of the argument, before calling a press conference.

A picture paints a thousand words. It is clear from the video, that the MIC president had not complied with the strict dress code. He was wearing slippers and clearly, he was in the wrong, but that did not stop him from claiming that he was right.

In his defence, Vigneswaran said that he was in slippers because he had a wound. Well, he would say that wouldn't he?

Pathetic excuses of politicians

Aren't we fed up with these pathetic excuses of claiming to be ill, which only crop up after politicians have been exposed for breaking the law.

Didn't a former minister claim that he was unable to walk, and when he was on the verge of being arrested for outraging the modesty of a minor, he was miraculously able to run away as fast as he could from the long arm of the law.

If his position, as the MIC president and Dewan Negara president, allows him to use the VIP channel, why was Vigneswaran abusing the rule and taking his daughter through the VIP lane.

It would have been a different story if both father and daughter were travelling together. What's to stop Vigneswaran, or another person with access to the VIP lounge, from allowing his family, friends, cronies and business associates to use this perk?

Vigneswaran had also refused to be searched, and he just forged ahead despite not having a security pass.

When he was challenged, he launched a tirade against the security officer who was merely doing his job. Obviously, Vigneswaran has no respect for employees and staff.

How many times, in the past, have former Umno-Baru/BN politicians flouted the rules?

To this day, I continue to receive many confessions from former civil servants who were angry that they were forced to carry suitcases of money for ministers and mentris besar of the former regime, or for their wives, to London. The VIP channel is one way to evade scrutiny.

On their return, laden with expensive purchases, they evade tax by using the diplomatic pouch or VVIP baggage. The Customs Department officers are not allowed to inspect diplomatic pouches and few would dare to scrutinise the luggage of a VVIP.

A different set of rules exist for you and I. We get taxed for our few treasured purchases, which were bought with our own hard earned cash. The fat cat politicians simply lived off us and were not even taxed.

Loke was right to come to the defence of his staff. The men and women whom we entrust with carrying out their public duties, should not be shouted at, humiliated, or threatened by ‘Datuks’ or former ministers, but be allowed to do their jobs, without fear or favour.

MIC should change its name from "Malaysia Indian Congress" to "Mired in Conceitedness". Similarly, Umno should stand for "United Money National Organisation" and MCA, is "Money Comes Along". And I must credit M Heng for these alternative definitions of Umno and MCA.

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MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO). Blog, Twitter.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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