September 26, 2009 oleh HermanSamsudeen
Majlis rumah terbuka Mahathir & Pak Lah berlansung serentak…adakah mereka bersaing mencari populariti?
The Malaysia Insider : A tale of two open houses
By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani
Well-wishers take turns to be photographed with Mahathir and Siti Hasmah. — Pictures by Choo Choy May
PUTRAJAYA, Sept 26 — Thousands visited Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammed’s open house today, with some marching almost a kilometre from the entrance of the Mine’s Golf Resort to meet the outspoken former prime minister (PM).
People of various nationalities arrived as early as 10.30am and began to fill the main tent.
Hadi Memamrian, an Iranian PHD student in University Putra Malaysia, was excited because this was his first time attending a Dr Mahathir open house.
“This experience is nice for me as back where I come from we do not celebrate Raya like this. The food is good and I like how this country allows the (former) PM to be exposed freely to mingle with the public,” he told The Malaysian Insider.
Suhaimi, a vice principal from the Bukit Jalil sports school, came out of admiration and respect for the ex-premier and his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah.
“Tun Mahathir still remembers me and they have always been supportive of our school,” he said.
As the power couple greeted visitors, some also took the opportunity to take family photos with them.
Among the guests were VK Lingam, Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen, Datuk S. Subramaniam, Datuk Seri Rais Yatim and Datuk Seri Ali Rustam.
At noon, Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrived and the people rushed to catch a glimpse of the current prime minister with Mahathir.
Past and present prime ministers share a private word together.
Once Najib and Mahathir adjourned to eat with their spouses, Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir took over greeting the guests at the entrance.
Not long after, Najib left to make his way to Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s Hari Raya open house at De’Endon Hall, arriving at 12.30pm.
The hall was filled with music from an orchestra performing a mixture of Malay, Chinese, Indian and Arabic songs.
However, of the nearly 3,000 invitations sent by the organisers, only hundreds turned up for the private event.
Khairy Jamaluddin was seen going from table to table, busying himself with the guests and posing for photos with some of the families.
Nearby, Najib and Abdullah sat down for a quiet meal, joined by Tun Jeane Abdullah, Datuk Noh Omar and Tan Sri Leo Moggie .
Datuk Sharir Samad, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, and Tan Sri Dr Lim Kok Wing were among the notable guests present while entertainment was provided by pop singer Nurul and veteran performer L. Ramli.
Speaking to reporters after escorting Najib back to his car, Abdullah said: “It is very enjoyable because last year I celebrated in Kepala Batas so today is different. I invited him (Mahathir) to the open house but unfortunately we both have open houses today so both of us have to greet our guests.”