MIC chief’s behaviour may have backfired

The problem with Malaysia is that we have a shortage of leaders with no ego. Most of the people who become leaders in their parties have egos which have to be constantly massaged. If they are rebuffed for one reason or another, they throw temper tantrums. They create ugly scenes because they are not used to the word “no”. Their sense of entitlement is strong, and they think they can do no wrong.

During the previous Barisan Nasional administration, many rules were bent as these people saw fit. Employees either closed one eye or risked earning the wrath of their bosses.

On Nov 14, SA Vigneswaran who is president of both MIC and the Dewan Negara, was barred from entering the VIP area at KLIA. According to reports, he did not satisfy security protocol or the dress code for the VIP lounge. He wore slippers and did not have a security badge.

Vigneswaran failed to show respect for other VIP users who complied with the dress code. And yet, this might be only a minor matter in relation to the security violation. Normal people have to abide by security rules; so should he.

The heated exchange which reportedly took place between him and the security staff when he was refused entry may have embarrassed his daughter, who was also present at the scene. She was the only person in the group of three who was travelling that day. So why should the daughter be allowed to use the VIP lounge if her father, the only person entitled to use it, was not travelling? It would be different if he was also flying, but he was not.

Transport Minister Loke Siew Fook, who revealed CCTV footage of the incident at a press conference, came under fire from Vigneswaran. Acting like a wounded tiger, the MIC chief announced that he was taking legal action against Loke for breaching his privacy.

But instead of getting the public on his side, Vigneswaran may in fact be discovering that the people are solidly behind Loke and his expose. Malaysia Airports employees too may be pleased that their bosses, even at the ministerial level, are standing up for them.

Norafiza Mohd Nasir, the customer experience executive for KLIA, was present at the press conference. She said when she explained the dress code laid out in a government circular, Vigneswaran became angry and asked her to show him where it was stated that he could not wear slippers. He was also said to have thrown the circular on the floor.

Vigneswaran’s vice-president, C Sivarraajh, agreed with his boss that Loke’s press conference was a cheap publicity stunt. He said the country had bigger problems to solve and that Pakatan Harapan leaders should focus on these instead of politicking.

Is Sivarraajh blind? Loke was trying to solve the problem of individuals who have a ridiculous sense of entitlement, and who do not set a good example for the rest of the country.

Vigneswaran could have avoided all this negative publicity simply by behaving with more decorum.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.