MALACCA: Many parents who attended the launching of the first official St.Francis Institution’s (SFI) Gavel Club in the country expressed delight over the friendly disposition and sense of humour of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron.
Idris was reportedly the first head of state to attend an event organised by the missionary school in 135 years and this was confirmed by Parent-Teacher Assoociation (PTA) of SFI which was established in 1880.
Parent Teo Chee Keong, 47, said he was dumbfounded that Idris was a down-to-earth person and jovial, a far cry from what his friends used to describe him.
“Frankly, I had misconception that the Chief Minister was aloof and not willing to entertain anyone and even hated to see his portrait around the historic city.
“I was wrong all these while, he is such a wonderful character that you want to be with every moment,” he said when interviewed by StarMetro on Monday.
Teo said he was delighted to see how Idris took the role of a teacher and conducted an impromptu class on stage during the event.
“The way he handled the event was so impressive and even left of us in titters with his humorous anecdotes about his schooling days,” he said.
Another parent, Swee Chee Sin, 37, said she almost “fell in love” with Chief Minister once she saw him speaking and hugging the children.
She said the way he tickled them pink with his jokes was so awesome and she can’t get him from her mind.
“I make the comparison as the Chief Minister knows how to manage the children with his wittiness and eloquence in English.
“No wonder the Opposition leaders in Malacca have heap of praises for him and he is not arrogant as what some described him,” she said referring to the State DAP chairman Goh Leong San who is touted as firebrand highly regarded Opposition leader who openly labelled Chief Minister as “approachable and professional manager” on October 2, 2013.
Swee said Idris should be featured in a positive manner as she felt that he was a leader who could be easily approached.
“When I saw him shaking hands and mingling with people, all the misconception of him vanished.
“He is not leader that often portrayed on certain media to be anti-Chinese and so on,” she said,
Mother of two, M. Banu, 39, said she was also surprised with the way Chief Minister spoke and handled the children.
“The most precious thing for us as parents is that the Chief Minister respected us and attended the event despite returning home from overseas. He should be saluted for that.
“I guess we should acknowledge his commitment towards education excellence,” she said.
The eleventh hour attendance of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron to launch the English-debating class at Equatorial Hotel here also touted to be an historic event for the oldest missionary school in the country.
St.Francis Institution’s (SFI) Parents and Teachers Association’s chairman Mak Chee Kin said this was the first time a head of the state has personally attended the launch of Gavel Club organised by the school.
“I checked the archive of the school and no records of a state head had personally attended an event organised by either SFI or its PTA over the last one century.
“Our earlier fear that school would be demolished to make way for development project has been allayed with the epic presence of the Chief Minister to the event,” he said.
Mak said the students teachers and principal of SFI were all euphoric with Idris asking teachers and students how he could be a help to them to ensure they excel in education during an impromptu debating session where he also rewarded students who spoke fluent English with gifts from Indonesia.
Idris who made a surprise present at tail end of the event had earlier cut short his official visit to Pekan Baru, Indonesia to be with the students.