PUTRAJAYA: Edwin Chew, 41, waited 15 years to “pay homepage” to Prime Minister (PM) Dr Mahathir Mohamad. And he had his chance today.
He was first in line among more than 1,000 early arrivals at the prime minister’s Hari Raya open house.
“There were a lot of people in 2003, but not this number, not as many. The crowd today is crazy!” he said, recalling the last time he visited Dr Mahathir’s Hari Raya open house.
“I can’t describe how I feel right now, but I am very excited to see the PM, after not seeing him for so long,” said Chew who arrived at 5am from Shah Alam.
Chew said his motive for attending the open house this time was different. “In 2003, I just wanted to wish him Selamat Hari Raya before he stepped down as the prime minister.
“But today, I want to say thank you to the PM for saving Malaysia. He doesn’t need the wealth, he doesn’t need all these, but he chose to take up the responsibility.
“I just want to wish him good health and hope that he can fulfill the promises he’s made, which I am confident that he can,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kanaga Arumugam, a sales and marketing manager from the Malaysian Institute of Management (MIM) who arrived at 6am said: “I am just excited to say thank you to the PM. He is a patron of MIM and I am glad that the institute is witnessing a change of government
“MIM is going through a rejuvenation process after going through some ups and downs, but we are positive that with this new administration, we will be able to revive the institute,” said Kanaga.
MIM, established in 1966 as a non-political and not-for-profit body, is a professional association of managers and organisations, which, among other things, acts as a bridge between the public and private sectors.
This year’s Hari Raya is significant because it is the first open house held by Dr Mahathir in his second stint as prime minister, and it is also the first time the prime minister is not from Barisan Nasional (BN).
As of 11am, the prime minister’s Seri Perdana official residence was filled with a crowd of more than 10,000 people, including foreigners.
Among cabinet members seen were Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik, Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali, Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu, and Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. Also there was former special adviser to the government Rais Yatim.
Mahathir and wife Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali were seen happily greeting members of the public, harking back to his first stint as prime minister for 22 years when they did the same.
After having stepped down as PM in 2003, Mahathir continued with this tradition at his private residence at the Mines in Seri Kembangan.