GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) has come under fire after its enforcement officers clamped the front tyre of a car driven by a woman who had brought her disabled mother on a wheelchair to a bank here.
The incident, which took place in front of the bank’s premises on Macalister Road, was captured in two video clips that have gone viral.
Both videos have also elicited strong reactions from Internet users.
MBPP however has defended the actions of its enforcement officers, saying they had merely followed the law by clamping the woman’s wheel since there was no proof of disability at the time of the offence.
In true Malaysian spirit, passers-by were seen either appealing to or scolding the officers in Malay, Hokkien, Tamil and English, accusing them of being insensitive.
In the first clip, the woman is seen wheeling her mother on the roadside outside the bank only to find that her car, parked at a bay reserved for the disabled, had been clamped.
She says in Hokkien that she had told the officers about her mother’s disability and that they were in the process of applying for a vehicle sticker meant for disabled people.
The senior woman is believed to have suffered a stroke two weeks ago.
“He can see my mother is in a wheelchair,” she said.
In the second clip, the two MBPP officers are seen arriving there on a motorbike.
One of them dismounts, telling her to pay the fine first before the wheel clamp is unlocked.
The woman driver then asks someone to call “Miss Teoh”, a staff from the bank, to come out to help.
Meanwhile, passers-by are seen reacting sympathetically towards the two women’s plight, with some criticising the officers, saying what they were doing was wrong.
“Takda betoi, takda betoi. Tengok elok-eloklah, macha.” (“It’s not right, it’s not right. Look properly, friend”), one person is heard telling one of the officers.
“How long can she sit in the hot sun? If anything happens to her, who will be involved (responsible)?” a security guard who arrives at the scene says, before continuing to lash out at them in Tamil.
“What is wrong with you all? She is in a wheelchair.
“I think you should call (Lim) Guan Eng (chief minister) and tell him what is going on. Guan Eng no money what, that is why he is collecting all the money like this.
“Call Guan Eng and come to release the lock,” the enraged security guard from the bank was heard saying.
He also asks them what they would do if their mother was in the same situation.
“If your mother is like this, can ah?” he says. “You are very rude to the public.”
A woman, identified as Miss Teoh and believed to be a bank staff, then appears and is seen discussing the situation with the officers.
She is then seen paying the officers the fee to unclamp the wheel, and is issued a receipt.
Meanwhile, MBPP mayor Maimunah Mohd Sharif said her enforcement officers would not have clamped the car if the woman’s government-issued OKU (“orang kurang upaya” or disabled) card was displayed on the dashboard.
She said many had misused parking lots for the disabled and hence the strict enforcement action.
“If the driver was in the car, we would not have issued a ticket or clamped the wheel.
“We have advised all applicants of the OKU parking pass to display their OKU card on the car at all times.
“Our enforcement officers have been advised to act in accordance with the law.
“There was no OKU card or sticker displayed on the car, so action was taken,” she said when contacted.