The CM in S-Class

Tay Tian Yan

Tay Tian Yan, Sin Chew Daily

I really admire the incumbent London mayor Boris Johnson as well as his predecessor Ken Livingstone. The former is a Conservative while the latter, a Labour Party leader. While these two gentlemen may embrace very different political ideologies, they are both first-rated in competency and character.

When most cities in continental Europe were experiencing stagnation or even regression, the British capital was full of vibrancy and life, and was a model of urban renewal and artistic innovation thanks to the leadership of these two men.

That highly impressive and highly efficient Olympics in 2012 sent the city to the pinnacle of the world, and we just couldn’t afford not to credit Livingstone and Johnson for their great works.

Londoners would not forget that Johnson was then riding his bicycle to inspect the various games sites scattered across London, taking off his helmet and convened a review meeting at every stadium he visited.

Today, Johnson is still cycling to his London office every day. He even tendered a public apology for being caught in camera once running a red light.

Similarly, Londoners would not forget his predecessor Livingstone took the lead by abandoning his car for the Tube in cutting back car traffic into the city.

Initially many people were against the restriction, but after seeing the mayor’s lead in taking public transport, they just had to accept convincingly. Today, London’s traffic woes have been dramatically relieved.

Both these two gentlemen have done superb jobs running a massive metropolis of eight million. By right, they should have been entitled to Rolls Royces or helicopters, given their great contributions.

Now, back to Malaysia. Penang only has a population of 1.6 million, barely a fifth of London’s. The infrastructure of Penang is not even up to the mark of a London borough.

The two mayors of London were crammed into the packed London trains with the rest of the city, inhaling the same exhaust gas from tailpipes. Nevertheless, that demonstrates a kind of sincerity in politics, a kind of humility. They are like the big brothers who would go with the public. Not unreachable nobles.

Indeed, the same was prevalent among the DAP veterans back in the last century. We saw many of them driving up and down the hills in second-hand cars. They were one with the underprivileged communities and enjoyed good rapport with the masses.

That was how DAP built itself up to what it is today!

And now, the chief minister’s luxurious sedan smells genuine leather, the backseat spacious enough to have his legs fully stretched, not to mention the solid steadiness as the engine is revved up and the invincible soundproofing quality.

I doubt the passengers inside the vehicle could feel the woes and afflictions of people toiling under the hot sun or rain.

Ironically, this man used to brag that he would only go for economy class when taking a flight, and has hit out at the Terengganu state government for acquiring a few E-Class, the money for which could have been used instead to help the people in the state. Of course, he never fell short of hammering his opponents for squandering, extravagance, arrogance and deceit in many of his public speeches.