Accusations and criticisms regarding double-standard treatment between VVIPs and common folk have often been a point of contention for many Malaysians. This is especially true in such cases as VIP convoys on public roadways, or designated facilities reserved exclusively for VIPs during certain events. And it is in the case of the latter which has left many local netizens incensed recently.
Veterans seen dining out in the hot sun while VIPs ate indoors
As shared by Twitter netizen @ShazwanZdainal, photos allegedly show how a group of Malaysian armed forces veterans were left to brave the scorching hot sun outdoors during what was claimed to have been the 100th anniversary parade of veterans, which was held at Dataran Pahlawan Negara in Putrajaya on 21st May 2022.
Cash is King, King is Rakyat?
Mereka makan berhidang, rakyat berbungkus saja. Inikah kongsi kek bersama? Keluarga Malaysia?
Kalau tak dapat bersama makan di dewan aircond, janganlah hanya bagi makanan bungkus dan biarkan mereka duduk makan di rumput.
Sediakan meja utk mereka! pic.twitter.com/ya33WxcpA5
— Ben (@ShazwanZdainal) May 24, 2022
Without any tents or shade in sight, the veterans had no choice but to bear with the heat while VIP guests gave speeches from shaded canopies. The issue was only further exacerbated with images of veterans seen dining outdoors under a tree, while Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein was photographed seated at a banquet table indoors.
“Cash is King, King is Rakyat? They [VIPs] are served their meals, while ordinary citizens eat from takeaway packaging. Is this what it means to share the cake? Keluarga Malaysia?”
The post has since gone viral across social media, with many netizens urging the government to do better in taking care of those whose service the country is indebted to, especially in the case of servicemen who have developed health conditions as a result of their time on duty.
Tweet has caught the attention of politicians too
In fact, the Tweet has also caught the attention of local politicians such as Muar MP YB Syed Saddiq, as well as former Deputy Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat, Nga Kor Ming, who have both question the lack of empathy and respect that was granted to servicemen at the parade.
May i ask is this the way how our Minister honoured veterans in the 100th anniversary of ATM Veterans association with VVIP in aircon room while the Ex officers on the floor under the scorching hot sun?This must stop.Pls treat our veteran army with respect & decorum.@MarkasATM pic.twitter.com/g0DO7REHTm
— Nga Kor Ming (@NgaKorMing) May 24, 2022
Tolonglah ada empati sikit.
Mereka ini yang telah lama berjasa kepada negara, dah pun bersara.
Ini kena berdiri tengah-tengah panas, makan pun tepi jalan.
Risau saya kalau pengsan nanti.
Yang VIP duduk selesa dalam aircond, makan pun dijamu.
Hargailah wira-wira veteran kita. https://t.co/I4RC8hlr76
— Syed Saddiq (@SyedSaddiq) May 24, 2022
Event organisers to be blamed
In speaking with The Rakyat Post, former Defence Forces chief Gen (Rtd) Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi says that he regrets the circumstances endured by the veterans at the event, and has blamed event organisers for their lack of consideration.
“First of all, the march parade is perhaps unnecessary. Camaraderie is well-established among the army veterans. I’m confident the mutual respect is there. A symbolic parade would have suffice.” he said.
He adds that both veterans and VIPs should have been invited to dine in the hall together, and emphasised the fact that Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein is a caring leader who had no qualms in mingling with rank and file.