Thousands wish PM and wife festive greetings at open house


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 20 Sep 2009

Hari Raya Open House

PUTRAJAYA: The crowd that came in the thousands to Seri Perdana here for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s open house consisted of people from all walks of life.

“This may be my first time organising the open house at the residence but the response has been really encouraging,” Najib said.

Around 50,000 people attended the event.

“Extra preparations for the open house were taken to ensure that the public would have a good day out meeting the government,” he added.

Najib added he was pleased by the efforts put by those helping to organise this event.

By 10am, the official residence of the Prime Minister was filled with well wishers who filled the huge tents set up around the vicinity of Seri Perdana.

There was a wide variety of food served, mostly local delicacies which took one night to prepare.

Caterer Adam Ahmad, 39 said three caterers, made up of more than 300 personnel were brought in to cook the food.

A long queue was seen at the steps leading to the foyer as many waited for their chance to greet the Prime Minister and his wife as early as 10am.

This is Najib’s first open house as Prime Minister.

Many of those who came were excited to greet Najib.

Zulhizman Shahrin, 33, said visiting the Prime Minister’s open house was a yearly affair for him.

“I started coming for it four years ago back when the open house was in PWTC. Najib’s choice to have this year’s open house at his official residence is a good and personal approach to meet the people.”

For retiree James Loke, 55 from Subang Jaya who had been attending the open house for more than 20 years, he found this year’s event to continue to be as enthusiastic and lively.

“I used to bring my kids to open houses such as this when they were much younger. Through the years and for today, I see many enjoy themselves.”

Excited as it was her first time, Halimah Abdullah, 69 found her experience meeting the Prime Minister for the first time as memorable.

“Although it was a brief encounter, he (Najib) was very sincere when I met him,” she said.

People from various organisations also came in numbers to the open house.

Around 100 people from Baitiangong Spiritual Association Malaysia came dressed in white outfits to greet the Prime Minister and his cabinet members.

Association leader Law Boon Eng said that it was encouraging that many from different races and religions had come to celebrate the Hari Raya festivities.

“This illustrates the spirit of 1Malaysia.”

Dr Karthiresan Venkatachalam, 51, from Johor had travelled a day earlier to attend the open house.

“Although thousands of people came for the open house today, I found the event a generally well organised one.”

Although it was raining at 1:30pm, the crowd stayed till the end of the event and the festive mood was upbeat throughout the open house that ended at 3pm.

Meanwhile, it was a trip down memory lane for former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali as they visited their ‘old home’ for the first time in years.

They reminisced about old times as they walked down the various corridors during the Hari Raya open house hosted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and Cabinet Ministers.

“I am glad that the Prime Minister is having the reception here again as there had been no reception here for five years.

“The public wants to come here. This is one place they would like to see. It belongs to them. There should be more of such open houses,” he said when met at Seri Perdana.

On whether his trip to Seri Perdana brings back old memories, Dr Mahathir quipped: “Saya punya memori sudah rosak sikit. Saya sesat tadi. Dah lain sikit. (My memory is a still damaged, I was lost just now. It seems a bit different).”

Dr Mahathir, Dr Siti Hasmah, Najib and Rosmah were seen chatting away as they talked about Seri Perdana and other matters.

The four were seen laughing and gesturing about the different parts of Seri Perdana with their hands.

As they chatted, Najib was overheard saying, “yes, it’s down memory lane” as he accompanied the two.

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