SEPANG, Nov 17 ― Dewan Negara president Tan Sri SA Vigneswaran must publicly apologise for breaching protocols at the VIP lounge at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
Transport Minister Anthony Loke claimed that the MIC president not only violated the mandatory dress code when accessing the premier lounge, but also rebuked on-duty staff who had explained the protocol.
He had also refused to be body-searched.
Additionally, Vigneswaran was accused of encroaching the lounge after security personnel refused him the VIP access card, owing to the dress code violation.
“When the case was forwarded to me, I viewed it as very serious case, because a VVIP had demonstrated a bad example.
“If I don't defend the staff here, then maybe they might be worried to carry out their duties in future.
“I don't want to embarrass him, but because it has happened, I cannot cover up, I have to expose this incident. Nothing personal.
“I want to urge Tan Sri Vigneswaran, as president of the Senate, to tender a public apology for what happened,” Loke said.
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.
Today, Loke and several staff who were on duty on the day of the incident, said that Vigneswaran was donning slippers when entering the lounge, which is against the dress code.
The media were made to understand that Vigneswaran’s alleged misdemeanour, also violated the Protected Areas and Protected Places Act (Act 298).
The minister explained that this was because the area is also used by top dignitaries, as well as royalties, and a circular detailing the proper dress code for those accessing the VIP lounge is also available.
At the press conference, a customer experience management officer who handled Vigneswaran’s grouses, had also stepped forward to explain his alleged misconduct
“On the day of the incident, I got a call saying this Tan Sri titled VIP wanted to enter the VIP room, and that he was not dressed properly. Just not wearing shoes, while all others were okay.
“I said we cannot accept because we are bound by a circular issued by the Prime Minister’s Department.
“So it is definitely not permitted even if the VIP already has a booking for the VIP room,” Norafiza Mohd Nasir recounted to the press.
She said that she had also showed the circular to Vigneswaran, who read, and then threw it aside, after questioning why such practice was previously allowed.
Loke later said that Vigneswaran’s footwear was not so much a problem, as compared with his alleged misconduct towards the airport employees on duty, and disregard of the stipulated laws.
“So I hope and I ask of all VVIPs and all government officers and top government officials. Those with titles such a Tan Sri, Datuk Seri and others. Respect, respect the rule of law. This is new Malaysia. This is no longer the old government. If the previous government did not take stern action, that is in the past. This is a new government and we want to uphold the rule of law and we want to execute our responsibilities strictly,” he said, warning them to also not bully airport workers.
Malay Mail had also contacted Vigneswaran’s aide L. Sivasubramaniam for a response on the allegations, and was informed that the MIC president would be holding a press conference tomorrow.