Baling MP Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim is no stranger to controversy. His stewardship of the pilgrimage fund, Tabung Haji, was abysmal, and he is currently facing charges for corruption.
Just when you thought nothing could be worse than politicians like Abdul Azeez, along comes his son Mohamed Khairul Anwar.
On May 6, Khairul uploaded a clip onto Instagram of him driving along a stretch of road being escorted by two police outriders. One police outrider stopped an oncoming car from turning to enable Khairul to beat the red light.
For decades, Malaysians have been failed by politicians like Abdul Azeez with their huge egos, their enormous sense of entitlement, and who feel they can break the rules with impunity.
But, for the son to ape the father’s arrogance simply fueled the rakyat’s fury.
They reacted with outrage at Khairul’s shameless manner, in which he broke the law twice, once for having police outriders as a nobody, and the other for beating the red light. His actions are simply unacceptable.
Penang police chief Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain said Khairul would assist them in their investigations. He also said they would see if any element of tarnishing the police force’s image was involved.
He claimed that the two police outriders had acted on their own accord, and were in the process of being disciplined, adding that none of his senior officers had given permission for police to escort Khairul.
However, some drivers in Kuala Lumpur disagree. A number have alleged that they are aware that at least in KL, police outriders will provide an escort, if the price is right.
So, who was telling the truth? The allegation that some rogue policemen will escort your vehicle, for a fee? Or, does no such escort and protection service exist?
Most Malaysians are aware that all road users must learn to cope with heavy traffic and ill-mannered drivers on our roads.
However, many motorists are also angry when they are stopped by police outriders and forced to squeeze their vehicles close to a monsoon drain, curb, or another vehicle, so that a swollen-headed politician may reach his destination smoothly and without delay.
Why can’t the politician or VVIP travel to work along the same congested roads as the rest of Malaysia? Why do they need police outriders to stop us so that they can have stress-free travel to and from their places of work?
One of the reasons for having numerous traffic congestion and poorly managed roads is because our ministers are not aware that these problems exist.
With their police outriders, they are used to cars moving smoothly when they travel from point A to point B. They do not see any traffic build-up.
As far as they are concerned, Malaysian roads are clear of congestion and have few hang-ups.
Or, maybe they are aware of these problems, but simply do not care.
Many Malaysian road users have been stopped by policemen at least once in their lives. Many are not aware they have broken the law.
Polite and courteous police outriders are few and far between, and our experience is more often than naught to have been at the receiving end of rude and uncompromising police outriders.
A few years ago, one driver was shocked when a police outrider rode his bike straight towards him. He said, “An official entourage was approaching from the opposite direction. I slowed down when I saw the flashing headlights and heard the siren.
“When the police outrider crossed the dividing white line and drove straight at us, my wife and daughter thought there would be a head-on collision, as the motorbike was coming at high speed and did not appear to want to slow down or stop.
“Why are these police outriders acting like Mat Rempits, except these police Mat Rempits have official uniforms, badges, and are armed.
“In fact, both these types of Mat Rempits terrorize ordinary road users. Both act as if they are above the law.”
Other road users have similar complaints. One said, “When a VVIP convoy of cars was approaching, we were forced to stop by the road side. A police outrider kicked the side of my car to force me off the road. Who pays for the damage? They are extremely arrogant.”
Those who have been stopped by police outriders are furious not just because of the policemen’s unbecoming conduct, but also because of the following reasons.
First. Does the person who is being escorted deserve the use of police outriders?
Second. Why should other legitimate road users be inconvenienced, just so this person wants to arrive at his destination quickly?
Third. Many road users have complained that auxiliary policemen are frequently used as outriders. Are auxiliary policemen permitted to become outriders?
Khairul appears to think that he is entitled to a police escort. He is not!
Many people would like to see a list of those entitled to use police outriders. Is it just the King and the prime minister? Are cabinet ministers on the list? If so, what’s the justification for this?
Malaysians wish to see who abuse their positions at the rakyat’s expense.
(Mariam Mokhtar is a Freelance Writer.)