So the other day, this one story got pretty big on Facebook. Basically this guy Fadzil Khairi talks about how he was caught in a jam recently when polis trafik started to signal cars to give way for a VIP. He pretended to not see them and the VIP car was forced to switch lanes. What happens next is that Fadzil realises that other cars also buat bodoh and ignored the polis until the polis also dunno what to do.
Which VIP was this you ask? Well, Fadzil says it was the car of our PM, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak himself.
One thing that we noticed from this story was how he knew the car belonged to our PM. And we were like “How da heck you know the PM’s car??” Like are there markers, or subtle number plates, or customised car models, or even just a car sticker?
Well as we went over the internet, we found out that it’s actually possible to tell who is the VIP the polis are asking you to make way for on the road.
1. Our Prime Minister
How to tell:
- It’s a Proton Perdana
- The number plate might say so
- Motorcade between 8-12 vehicles
Fadhil didn’t mention the car our PM drives, which is a very special Proton Perdana to be precise. While some say that the law calls for the PM to use a Malaysian car, that may not be true because in 2013, the Honda Accord was in the running to be the gomen’s official vehicle. They ditched the idea in favour of Proton.
We’re guessing Proton Perdana cos you know, Perdana Menteri.
But in the event that you can’t tell cars apart the same way you can’t tell Star Wars and Star Trek apart, you could try to have a glance at the car’s number plate. While we did find a picture of a Proton Perdana that said “Perdana Menteri Malaysia” we don’t think it’ the number plate of our PM atm. It may have been so in the past but this video and this article indicate his current number plate to be “W 11 N”.
Anyway, aside from these 2, we tried to look for ways to know just by looking at his motorcade, but we couldn’t tell just from watching YouTube videos. Honestly, his motorcade just has lots of normal looking police vehicles following it. BUT from watching a few videos, it seems that his motorcade has between 8-12 vehicles, depending on the situation.
2. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, other Sultans, & state rulers
How to tell:
- Huge motorcade (but only for Agong)
- Very royal looking flags and number plates
- Custom made cars
We tried to determine this by watching a few YouTube videos. As far as we know, the motorcades of Sultans and state rulers usually consist of standard looking police vehicles, similar to our PM.
But there is one motorcade which looks somewhat different from others, the one that follows the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Here are some of the differences we noticed:
- The motorbikes have a dash of yellow on the front. We count 8 of them from most videos.
- The motorcade sometimes has a few extra vehicles of men in red (the number plate suggests that they are from the Malaysian Army).
- From a few videos (like this, this, and this), it seems that the Agong’s motorcade consists of between 25-30 vehicles! So yea, it’s a lot bigger than our PM’s one.
Besides that, Malaysian Digest said that the cars of Sultans, rulers of states, and royalties have unique registration plates that are usually yellow in colour, and/or have the royal crest of the owner. The pictures below also show that they may have a flag attached.
As for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, it’s a little bit different. The car number plate is still yellow but instead of having the state crest, it has the Jata Negara.
You can see more examples on kereta.info’s article here. But you can be pretty sure that any car with number plates like these are definitely rulers or royalty because you cannot simply put special number plate, no matter who you claim to be. Back in 2010, the controversial, self-claimed Sultan of Melaka was fined for using a number plate with the words “Raja Kesultanan Melaka”. (We talk about him in an article here!)
For certain rulers however, there are other ways that you can tell who they are without referring to the car number plate. For example, if you ever see the polis trafik asking you to give way for this particular vehicle, rest assured that it definitely belongs to one particular Sultan.
3. VIPs not from Malaysia
How to tell:
- Extreeeeeeeeeeeeemely long and foreign looking motorcade (between 40-50 vehicles!)
- National flags
- Weird numberplates (Cos alot of the time, the car itself is flown in)
There weren’t many videos of motorcades of international VIPs but the first thing that came to mind when watching their videos was this: They have really, really long motorcades.
This video shows that when former Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, left the Agong’s palace in 2012, he had a 35-car motorcade (41 if you include the motorbikes). And even more recently, when US President, Barack Obama was in town, this video captures his motorcade passing a toll, we counted 48 vehicles! (But it’s also possible that it’s a lot because the US President has his own motorcade already following him wherever he goes.)
But maybe it isn’t completely odd to have more vehicles follow a VIP when they’re in another country? Cos this video of our PM’s motorcade in Singapore had about 22 vehicles.
The videos also showed that they had their own unique number plates and flags (similar to the Sultans). This article however, mentions that the car of the US President will have the US flag and the flag of the nation it is visiting.
But do we really have to move aside for all these VIPs when polis trafik ask us to?
Well the answer to that is tricky. The NST reports that law expert Datuk Jahaberdeen Mohamad Yunos said that the law doesn’t state that, if got VIP, everyone else on the road have to get outta the way. But he says these things have to be examined on a case to case basis.
On the other hand however, the IGP has had his say on the matter.
“I am advising road users to follow orders from the police who are on duty, as there are reasons as to why they are escorting the VVIPs… mainly because of security reasons.” – IGP Khalid Abu Bakar, as quoted by The Malay Mail Online
But realistically… can you even tell who’s behind you?
It’s quite hard right? Cos the first thing you see is the motorsikal, then you gotta make a decision already. HOW!?!?!?
To be honest, we’re actually wondering how Fadzil was so easily able to tell that it was the PM’s car he was blocking because he doesn’t elaborate.
But what we also couldn’t find out for sure is WHO gets a motorcade. Where is the line drawn? It’s fine if every motorcade was escorting a VIP that needed to go for some VIM (very important meetings?). But sources in events companies told us that it’s possible to hire your own police motorcade. We’re told that the price ranges from between RM900-RM1500 per vehicle. (In Jakarta, there’s even a site for it!)
“A good friend of mine (got extra money to blow) hires those outriders on a regular basis. Just to go to the airport, etc. It’s sickening, you get the impression money can buy anything even police escorts to the wannabe VIPs. You wanna blow your extra cash think of charity not feeding your ego.” – Commentor Marcus Oliver on theantdaily.com
And while the police have also said that such services are illegal, if these are true, how are we to know which VIP is real and which VIP is fake?
This guy by the name of Brad Nelson (Googling his name turns up nothing, so guess he must be a secret VIP?) recently posted that he had a police escort for the CIMB Classic golf tournament. And it’s also things like these that make us wonder who actually qualifies as a VIP in need of a motorcade to clear traffic for them.
At the end of the day, maybe there needs to be more transparency between people and gomen on their use of motorcades, because simply telling people to get out of the way while everyone struggles in traffic doesn’t seem to be making anyone happy at the moment.
“Isn’t easing the rakyat’s burden the duty of ministers and politicians? How would subjecting the rakyat to further torture in already bad traffic make their lives easier?” – V Shuman, in an article for theantdaily.com