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An Evening with the Prime Minister


1Malaysia hi-tea with PM Najib's Facebook friends at the his official residence, Seri Perdana

1Malaysia hi-tea
1Malaysia kuih-muih

On the 9 of March, unexpectedly I received an email (below) from the Prime Minister inviting me to his tea party at the prime minister's official residence, Seri Perdana, Putrajaya! Of course, I wouldn't expect the PM himself to email me. Email aside, Najib confessed during the hi-tea that most of the time he would personally update his Facebook and Twitter himself, and only on certain occasions he would get his staff to do the postings on his behalf.

Najib should perhaps give some advice to his Information Minister, Rais Yatim about Facebook or Twitter. Rais's recent statement on Facebook shows how ignorant and out of touch he is with the Internet and the "social media culture". And this is the man who is supposed to be in charge of the Internet and broadband. Should Najib plans to have a cabinet reshuffle, I would urge him to place Rais somewhere else, not in the Information and Communication Ministry.

Anyways, out of the thousands of applicants - some reports says 2000 - I was among the chosen Facebook friends of Prime Minister Dato' Sri Najib Tun Razak to attend the 1Malaysia hi-tea. So, of course I was happy and excited. I suppose most people in my position would feel the same too. It was my second visit to Seri Perdana. The first was exactly 10 years ago when I was in form five.

I sat with a well mixed group of people with different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Sitting with me at my table were a former national athlete who now works as a Marketing Director, a retired teacher, a technical engineer, a restaurant chef who came all the way from Kulai, Johor, a high school student and another 30-something lady. The lucky ones were seated in the same table with Najib and his wife, Rosmah.

Surprisingly, out of the hundreds of questions submitted via email, the 1Malaysia team has chosen mine out of the 10 selected ones. Initially I wanted to ask something on policies or something that is of great concern to Malaysia e.g. economic recovery, education system, issues of brain drain, corruption, crime and et cetera; but then again I suppose others would have thought the same too, so I decided on something personal; about books. Ha ha. The question was based on an article in The Star three years ago (Joy and knowledge from a life-long habit). So I was slotted for question number 4, out of the 10 pre-selected questions.

And so I got to know that 'When China Rules the World' by Martin Jacques and 'Blink' by Malcolm Gladwell are among the books that Najib currently reads.

The first question from the floor was on 1Malaysia. A lady stood up and asked the Prime Minister how did he came about with the idea of 1Malaysia.

Interestingly Najib shot back by asking her, "What do you, think about 1Malaysia?", which drew much laughter and applause from the audience. She smiled sheepishly for a while and I couldn't hear what she responded. :P

Q&A session aside, I have to admit one of the best part of the event was the food itself. I would say it's a 1Malaysia food galore. I had yong tau fu, roti boom, putumayam, cendol (a diversity of "politically correct" foods) and went home happy with a full stomach!

The event was front-paged in almost all major newspapers today. Here are some of the related articles.
Internet has broken down many walls - The Star
Internet Friends Proud To Meet PM - Bernama
Najib has tea with cyber pals - MalaysianInsider
Lima juta warga Malaysia aktif dalam Facebook - Utusan
Najib Tekad Capai 6 Peratus - Berita Harian
Najib Razak [press@1Malaysia.com.my]
Shahnon Mohamed Salleh [my@emailaddress.com]

Salam Shahnon Mohamed Salleh,

Kehadiran anda ke Jamuan Petang 1Malaysia Bersama Perdana Menteri telah disahkan. Jemputan ini adalah untuk seorang sahaja dan tidak boleh ditukarmilik. Anda akan diminta untuk mengemukakan kad pengenalan setelah tiba untuk tujuan pendaftaran.

Terima kasih.
1Malaysia.com.my

1Malaysia hi-tea with PM Najib Tun Razak
Group photo with the Prime Minister (picture source: Berita Harian)

1 comment

Lucus asirvatham said...

wish i can meet PM face to face

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