GEORGE TOWN: When Nini Siron, 36, blew the whistle on the Kedah menteri besar’s test drive jaunt of a RM211,000 pick-up truck at Juru, she thought she was just doing her civic duty.
She never knew the tribulations she would have to face for that one deed at the height of an MCO lockdown last month.
The housewife, who managed her husband’s Facebook page selling Honda cars, small furniture items and perfumes, has suffered a loss of income running into the thousands since the episode.
While she feels vindicated after police finally issued a fine against Kedah menteri besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor over the offence after five weeks, she believes it was she and her family who suffered more.
This was because the menteri besar’s supporters trolled Nini and shared her family photos all over Facebook, forcing her to suspend her social media accounts, one of which was the business page that lent her family a lifeline during the MCO.
Nini manages her 43-year-old husband’s Facebook page selling cars, where they solicited for customers at a time when showrooms were not allowed to open. On the page, she also sold small furniture items and perfumes as a side gig to make some extra money.
They managed at least 10 car sales a month since the MCO started last year through FB alone, earning an income from commissions. Their phone numbers were listed there, too.
With the Facebook account closed and their numbers forced to be disabled, there were no sales, forcing the couple to dip into their savings.
Nini said while it appears that it would be okay to reopen their page, she was afraid another torrent of hate messages would soon flow in with saboteurs keeping potential customers away.
“We have been selling cars, providing road tax, insurance renewals. The Facebook page is how we reach out to our customers and was a lifesaver during MCO.
“Even after the menteri besar was given a fine for the incident, you see many of his supporters now hitting hard at the police for issuing a compound. The current rhetoric is that the MB was not driving but was merely driven around, hence the cops have erred.
The MB has denied driving the said pick-up, saying he took part in a short drive with a salesman.
“Imagine what would happen if I reopen my page and I am bullied and my customers’ photos spread far and wide like before? Until today, there has been no news over my cyberbullying complaint,” she told FMT.
Nini said she had filed another police report at the Bukit Mertajam police station over supporters exposing her personal information on social media, but police advised her to lodge a complaint with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) instead.
She said she has yet to hear from MCMC or the police over her complaint and remains fearful over a “troll army” aligned with the MB.
“Some have flooded my inbox asking me to ‘jangan buka aib orang’ (don’t be a tattletale) by ratting out the menteri besar. I say to them, as a MB, you have to first ‘jaga your own aib’. My intention was to blow the whistle to help the ummah, to show that there is a jembalang (ghost) in their midst, as we are trying to fight a pandemic.
“I have to wonder why my husband had to sell cars online when pick-up trucks can be freely test-driven when showrooms are closed?” she asked.
Bukit Aman recently revealed that a compound notice had been issued against Kedah menteri besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor for flouting the MCO, with the fine amount yet to be determined by the health ministry.
Over the weekend, he said he had yet to receive the compound notice but would pay the fine immediately.
In explaining what took place in June, Sanusi had said the incident took place “by chance” when he was on his way to Kuala Lumpur for a meeting.
He said he had stopped to buy bread and water at a RM2 shop at Juru Auto City and chanced upon a Ford showroom next door and struck up a conversation with a salesman there. He then took up the salesman’s offer to go on a short drive in the pick-up truck before leaving for Kuala Lumpur.