22 November 2018
MIC chief’s behaviour may have backfired
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.
19 November 2018
KUALA LUMPUR: Dewan Negara president Tan Sri S. A. Vigneswaran says he will initiate legal proceedings against Transport Minister Anthony Loke for accusing him of breaching security protocols while using the VIP lane at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
Vigneswaran said he was unfairly put on “trial by the media”, while his family members were ridiculed on social media following the incident.
“Vulgar comments were made on social media. As a politician and even as the Senate president, I can accept all that and it is up to him.
“But if you insult my daughter and wife who have nothing to do with this, as a father did he not consider about this after the video was uploaded in the social media.
“I will sue Loke. He used Malaysian Airports Holding Berhad (MAHB) to come out with the video. It is an attempt to embarrass me as the Dewan Negara president,” he told a press conference in Parliament on Monday (Nov 19).
Asked when he will initiate the legal proceeding, Vigneswaran said he will sue Loke for defamation “as soon as possible”.
“You have embarrassed my wife and my daughter.
“Why is Loke acting as if he is a judge and making his own decision on whether I am guilty of any offence.
“I will defend the sanctity of my family and will let the court decide,” he said.
17 November 2018
They said, he said…
Earlier today, Loke called out Vigneswaran to publicly apologise for breaching protocols at the VIP lounge at the KLIA.
Loke claimed that Vigneswaran not only violated the mandatory dress code when accessing the premier lounge, but also rebuked on-duty staff who had explained the protocol, and also refused to be body-searched.
Additionally, Vigneswaran was accused of encroaching on the lounge after security personnel refused him the VIP access card, owing to the dress code violation.
Loke said that a report on the case would also be forwarded to the Prime Minister’s Department, to decide if Vigneswaran should be stripped of the privilege.
A security footage of the incident was also played to media members, with several staff who were on duty on that day who individually spoke about the incident.
The media were made to understand that Vigneswaran’s alleged misdemeanour, also violated the Protected Areas and Protected Places Act (Act 298).
Vigneswaran had also lodged a report against the lounge management staff.
In a report sighted by Malay Mail, Vigneswaran’s officer, Suresh Ramasamy accused the lounge management staff of being someone who was not “smart enough to have handled the situation, which made it worse”.
He also claimed that there were no signboards at any place in the lounge, barring its users from wearing slippers in the lounge or at the VIP line.
Suresh also called for appropriate action to be taken against the staff as “it is the joint responsibility of us all to ensure that VIPs who qualify to use the special waiting room can continue to use the facility comfortably, while observing the existing rules.”
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 17 — Dewan Negara president Tan Sri SA Vigneswaran today hit out at Transport Minister Anthony Loke, whom he claimed had unfairly humiliated him by accusing him of violating airport lounge rules.
He also claimed that there were no specific rules in the lounge’s dress code barring the use of slippers.
The MIC president told Malay Mail that he did not break any rules while accessing the special VIP lounge at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on November 14, when sending off his daughter.
He also questioned the need for a body search, as the sensor alarm did not trigger when he went through the body scanning machine.
“I walked through the sensor. My dear, has anyone body-searched you despite there not being any sound?
“I then took the lift downstairs, went straight to the officer and asked: Madam, one can’t wear slippers here?
“Why I asked was because those going for hajj and umrah will usually wear slippers and go.
“There is also a surau in the VIP lounge. When they (Muslims) take the water to cleanse themselves (wuduk), they will wear slippers. So what’s wrong with using slippers?” Vigneswaran told Malay Mail when contacted.
“It is not the security who stopped me. It is this woman who was in charge of the lounge. I was not even using the VIP lounge. I was just using the lane,” he added.
Justifying his footwear, Vigneswaran said that he had a swollen foot, and that was why he wore slippers.
He also criticised Loke as merely wanting cheap publicity by publicly outing him, adding that his officer had also lodged a report with the Prime Minister’s Department, against the lounge management officer.
Vigneswaran also expressed disappointment that he was not contacted by Loke to have his side of the story heard, prior to the press conference today.
“How could you go so low and have no courtesy to call me and ask what was the story, or ask his officers to ask my officers?
“Anthony Loke wants cheap publicity. This is a very cheap publicity,” he added.
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.
“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.
Dewan Negara president S Vigneswaran has denied Transport Minister Anthony Loke’s allegation that he flouted security protocol at the KLIA VIP lounge.
Speaking to Malaysiakini, Vigneswaran said he regretted that he was not given an opportunity to explain his version of events before the minister took the issue to the press.
“The comments made by the minister are inappropriate, wrong and unjustified.
“I contacted him (Loke) today and asked him to call me when he is able to. He chose not to hear to my side of the story,” he said.
Earlier today, Loke had shown members of the media a CCTV footage of the Nov 14 incident.
The transport minister claimed that Vigneswaran had knowingly flouted security protocol, including wearing slippers and thus breaching dress code rules, raising his voice at airport staff and entering the VIP lounge without a security pass.
Vigneswaran, who is also MIC president, admitted that he did not have a security pass on him when he entered the lounge but directed blame towards the security personnel on duty.
“I normally don’t hold it (a security pass), I have never been asked to hold one.
“If I did not have it, the security should have held me. It is not me who should be blamed,” he said.
‘Rules interpreted at officer’s whim’
At the press conference today, KLIA customer experience personnel Norafiza Mohd Nasir had also recalled her altercation with Vigneswaran in the lounge.
When asked if he had raised his voice at her when she showed him a government circular on the dress code, Vigneswaran did not answer but blamed her for “interpreting” the rules unfairly.
“It was the receptionist at the VIP lounge who stopped me, not the security personnel […] the circular had no mention about slippers, only that guests needed to be berpakaian bersesuaian (dressed appropriately).
“How can she talk about slippers (being not allowed)? People walk in with slippers (all the time) when they have to do prayers at the prayer room in the lounge.
“She interpreted the rules according to her whims and fancies,” he said.
He explained that he had worn slippers due to minor swelling on his foot and had entered the lounge to send off his child who was travelling overseas.
Vigneswaran said his aide had lodged a complaint about the treatment he had received at the VIP lounge the next day after it happened.
The complaint, which Malaysiakini has sighted, stated that there had been no clear signs barring the use of slippers and said such a rule was not “appropriate” for guests who wanted to travel at their own comfort.
He had also asked for action to be taken against the staff who had tended to him at the lounge.
It was emailed to the Prime Minister’s Department, which oversees privileges offered to top government personnel. MKINI