OK, the PM has even hammered him publicly, giving others the imprimatur to also criticise him. AAB said: "Society cannot accept such offences committed by an elected representative and action must be taken against him."
Just to be sure no one misses the OK to whack this bloke, Bernama and the NST have also published news critical of him.
So, who's the 'lucky' bloke to earn such attention, even from the PM?
State Assemblyman Zakaria Md Deros is in the dog house for having built an ostentatious ‘istana’ (palace) amidst a low cost housing environment, a provocative act in a Malay kampong (village) area.
A Malay himself, he has been utterly insensitive in a low cost Malay housing area with a predominantly Malay culture that frowns on arrogant display of tall poppy lifestyle. His 4-storey mansion is at least ten times larger than others in the vicinity.
And talking about tall poppy, local residents have been pissed off, stating the palace-like building has become an eye-sore to those living in the area. One even declared: "I cannot bear to look at it, but it cannot be avoided. It is staring right at me once I open the door of my house".
He averred that locals had been against the project and that it had led to arguments between them and Zakaria's aides. Another criticised Zakaria for showing off his powers by defying their feelings.
Just to complement his social ‘sins’, he also committed a legal ‘sin’, by erecting his palatial mansion without submitting a building plan for approval. OK, so the accusation of his 'arrogant display of powers' is proven!
Now, normally when an UMNO member, especially a local bigwig, does that, he or she would be able to get away with it, but the fact that Zakaria has been hammered publicly by the PM, MB and the UMNO controlled media means he’s out of favour with the party.
Then there is also the matter of his family dominating the Klang Town Council. While there is no legal impediment to three members of the same family sitting on the Council, there is the universal concept of public propriety, namely avoidng public perception and criticisms of unbalanced public representation and dodgy conflict of interest, which of course UMNO hasn’t been exactly the tauladan (exemplary model) in upholding.
Selangor Menteri Besar (MB) Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo, not everyone’s favourite, said that Zakaria, by building the house illegally, had contravened the Road, Drainage and Building Act 1974. He wants to fine Zakaria the maximum 10 times the cost of the building plan.
There’s no doubt that Zakaria deserves to be fined for not submitting a building plan, but I don’t like the MB’s politically initiated decision to whack Zakaria 10 times the normal amount. ‘Two wrongs’ don’t make ‘one right’.
The proper process should be followed and a balanced assessment of his fine should be fairly decided upon. It may well be 10 times the usual amount, and so be it, but it’s dangerous supporting a MB who decided on the heat of the political controversy to shoot from his hips at a civil offender.
If Zakaria is to be frown upon for his display of arrogant political power, likewise we must frown upon Mohamad Khir Toyo for his ad hoc announcement of punitive fine against Zakaria. We don't want Toyo's demonstration of absolute autocratic exercise of powers.
In fact I deem it far more important to rein in someone like the MB than Zakaria.