Datuks and road rage


By Mariam Mokhtar

When a traffic accident happens, the two drivers involved would normally exchange information on their insurance coverage and how to contact each other. One does not expect to be beaten to a pulp, as happened last Saturday to a delivery man who backed his lorry into a Mercedes Benz belonging to a datuk.

He had stopped to deliver goods to a mini-market. He may not have realised that a car had driven-up behind him and parked. He may have failed to look into his side mirror before reversing, but what followed is beyond comprehension.

In a video footage of the incident, a man in a green shirt is seen pinning the lorry driver to the ground and repeatedly punching him. From the left hand corner of the video, we see a man in a dark brown T-shirt running up to the driver and then kicking him in the head.

The victim’s head is seen lolling about before another man, in a white T-shirt, runs towards him to kick him. He misses, but a few seconds later, a man in an electric blue T-shirt runs up and successfully deals his kick in head. The four assailants are joined by a man in a black T-shirt and they rain more kicks on the driver’s head, like they were kicking a football.

There were uniformed security guards at the scene. Why were they powerless to stop the attackers? Why didn’t other onlookers help the security guards stop the assault? Have our streets been taken over by angry young men?

What sort of datuk has a staff of thugs?

The police are treating the incident as a case of rioting. People who viewed the video may disagree. This was grievous assault and battery.

The law must come down hard on these men, whoever they are and whomever they work for.

Datuks are very much in the news these days, and often for the wrong reasons.

Last month, a datuk was shot and killed by his own bodyguard. It was alleged that the 32-year-old datuk was a gang leader and under police surveillance.

More recently, a datuk attacked a security guard for clamping the wheel of his Mercedes Benz S-Class. He had parked his car overnight at a condominium’s visitor drop-off point. Refusing to pay the fine to remove the wheel clamp, he took a bolt cutter to free his car.

A security guard who filmed the incident was verbally abused and punched in the face and the other security guards on duty were warned not to report the incident. The datuk looked like he was on a rampage and no one dared to stop him.

It was later reported that this datuk is a resident of this particular condominium in Bukit Gelugor. He is also a committee member of the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce and he deals in beauty products.

He could afford to drive a car with a single-digit registration number plate, but could not afford to pay the small fine for parking illegally.

As a resident of the condominium, did he not understand that a visitor drop-off point is for dropping people off or for picking people up and should not be used for long-term parking?

This arrogant man set a bad example by breaking the law three times; first, by parking illegally, second by damaging property which did not belong to him and third, by assaulting a guard who was merely doing his job.

Datuks are supposed to be the pillars of society, not gangsters. – FMT

Mariam Mokhtar is an FMT columnist.

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