THEIR job is to accompany VIPs on the road but the presence of police outriders sometimes rubbed Malaysians the wrong way.
Marketing manager S. Sophie, 33, recalls feeling angry when a police outrider stopped his motorcycle abruptly in front of her, pointed at her and then to the side, gesturing for her to move.
“He blew his whistle while looking so angry. I felt confused at first because I didn’t know what he wanted.
“He kept repeating his gestures but I couldn’t move because there were other cars in my way.”
She says the incident gave the impression that the VIP in the vehicle was above everyone else and the police escorts didn’t bother about the safety of other motorists.
“It’s like they do not care if you hit the divider or other cars because they keep wanting motorists to move to the side,” she says.
Concurring, a bank executive, Lily, says she felt the practice was rather dangerous because other drivers have to switch lanes fast or slow down to allow the convoy to go ahead first.
“This is especially if the roads are busy at that time. Accidents could easily happen,” she adds.
Post graduate student Mohd Amin Ishak, 27, remembers feeling put off by the outriders as they seemed impatient when motorists did not move fast enough.
“But sometimes, there is hardly space to move.
“I respect and understand that such officials have to attend important events and must be on time.
“However, if they had allocated enough time to travel, they wouldn’t have to forcefully wade through a sea of cars during a jam,” he says.
He hopes leaders will consider public safety first above all else.
An engineer, who wishes to be known only as Wong, says he was stunned to find out that one mayor had opted to use outriders even when he was not travelling on official business.
Wong had met the mayor at a meeting. At one time, they went to visit several places for social purposes and not for business.
“To my shock, he actually used the city council’s enforcement officers as outriders to lead us and clear traffic with sirens blaring.”
“I don’t think he was entitled to do that. Traffic wasn’t even very heavy. I felt the mayor was probably trying to show off,” Wong recalls.
He agrees that fewer officials should be entitled to police escorts.
“Local council enforcement officers should be using their time to enforce by-laws. They shouldn’t be used to protect the mayor,” Wong adds.