Why should I say sorry, asks Vigneswaran over KLIA incident

Dewan Negara president SA Vigneswaran says transport minister should have sought his views before statement at press conference. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Dewan Negara president SA Vigneswaran has denied breaching security protocols while using VIP services at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport recently, as claimed by the transport minister.

Vigneswaran, who is also the MIC president, branded Loke Siew Fook’s attempt to “childishly” shame him today, without contacting him for a clarification, as an “attack” on his role for being in the opposition.

Earlier today, Loke told a press conference that Vigneswaran had committed a security breach at KLIA on the night of Nov 14.

Vigneswaran is said to have gone through a VIP lane without undergoing a required bodycheck.

Loke, a DAP leader, said that Vigneswaran also did not comply with the dress code and was wearing slippers when sending off his daughter through the VIP lane. Vigneswaran was asked to apologise.

“It is clear that he menceroboh (trespassed). He just went through, without this (security) pass.

“He ignored the security officer. He refused to be searched and just walked through.

“He then went downstairs to the (VIP lounge) counter and scolded and shouted at our officer,” Loke was reported as saying.

Vigneswaran, however, said that he did go through the body check and was cleared by the officers on duty.

He explained that as he was leaving, the officers called after him to alert him that an elevator had come up to take him to the lobby. However, this was misinterpreted as him arguing with the staff members in question, Vigneswaran told FMT.

Later, as he approached the departure gates, Vigneswaran said one staff member rebuked him for wearing slippers as he had a wound.

He said the airport staff member’s claim, that he was rude, was “totally unreasonable”.

He said all he asked for was to see the supposed government circular stating that VIPs are not allowed to wear sandals.

The circular only stated that VIPs must be appropriately attired, in Malay, with no specific mention of the type of footwear required.

Given that there was nothing to suggest he had flouted any rules, Vigneswaran said he proceeded to the gates.

‘Kangaroo court’

“I don’t recognise kangaroo courts,” Vigneswaran told FMT when asked if he would issue an apology on the incident.

“Why should I apologise? He (Loke) should apologise to me instead,” Vigneswaran said.

“He doesn’t have the courtesy to hear both sides, which is only natural before coming to any decision.

“He did this on his own accord. As far as I’m concerned, he was ill-informed or things were misconstrued.

“If he wants to call a press conference and air videos claiming I breached something, so be it.

“He can carry on doing whatever he wants,” he said, adding that his office had lodged a complaint the day after the incident but did not hear back.

In questioning not being allowed to wear slippers, Vigneswaran enquired how Muslim VIPs, most of whom are leaving to perform their Umrah, will go the surau in the airport and pray, but are not allowed to wear slippers.

“But maybe opposition members are placed (and screened) under a different category as ‘security protocol’ for the minister (Loke)” Vigneswaran said.