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Police escorts a danger to motorists

Why must a VIP get right of way at the expense
of law abiding rakyat who are oftentimes
rough-housed to the side of road? asks an activist
By Luke Rintod of FMT
KOTA KINABALU: Police, especially traffic police, escorting VIPs on Sabah roads are being accused of endangering other road users when conducting their duties. A social activist said he recently almost met with an accident when overzealous police escorts forced him to the verge of the road to give way to a VIP speeding towards him
Donny Yapp, a director of UK-based NGO, Borneo Rights International (BRI), said the policemen simply “bulldozed” their way through the traffic and confused other motorists on a highway by waving their hands and pointing their fingers at them to get off the road.
Yapp said he was shocked earlier this week when a police outrider suddenly appeared alongside his vehicle frantically waving and pointing to one side of the road and the divider.
“I didn’t know whether to stop right there or drive onto the divider. We should not have this style anymore where our safety is not the concern of the authority or the VIP.”
Motorists here have long complained of the offensive manner the police performed their duty and many say speeding VIP convoys were making the already poorly regulated traffic and badly planned road system even more dangerous to road users.
They have claimed that the way police escorts who came barreling down the highway with sirens blaring, telling other drivers to move away or pull over to allow an entourage to pass was unnerving.
“Yes they are VIPs … Prime Minister and Chief Minister, but the traffic police should not surprise and shock everyone with their ever pointing hands to other drivers, telling them to go quickly to the side of the busy road so that a so-called VIPs can move smoothly ahead,” Yap said in a statement here yesterday.
Huge number of VIPs
Yapp said police escorts should be taught road manners and not take for granted that ordinary motorists can immediately manoeuvre out of the way without causing an accident.
He said there was no reason VIPs should get right-of-way everywhere they go at the expense of majority drivers.
“Can’t a VIP be normal road user? If they are so in a hurry why don’t they just use helicopters instead? Must a VIP’s schedule always take precedent over other people’s affairs including on the road?” he asked.
He said the problem was exacerbated by the huge number of VIPs in Malaysia and those demanding VIP treatment.
“Why must a minister be given right of way? He or she must experience the same situation we face on the road. Only an ambulance and the governor should be given the VIP treatment,” Yapp contended.

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