PUTRAJAYA, Jun 17 – Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and members of his Cabinet received about 80,000 visitors at the Aidilfitri open house held in Seri Perdana, the official residence of the prime minister. The extraordinary turnout exceeded the initial estimates of 50,000 for the occasion.
The open house which began at 10am and ended at 4.30pm, was also attended by foreign tourists and dignitaries who came as early as 9am. Due to the exceptionally large crowd, the compound gate was opened one hour earlier (9am) so that the people did not have to queue up outside and were able to enjoy hari raya delicacies provided at 10 refreshment tents.
Dr Mahathir who looked resplendent in a purple Baju Melayu with matching kain songket and his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali, were all smiles to greet the visitors. Earlier, the Prime Minister said he was touched by the huge turnout of people to the Aidilfitri open house at Seri Perdana.
Despite both Dr Mahathir and Dr Siti Hasmah looking tired after meeting so many guests to his official residence, they personally greet each guest warmly. I have shaken hands with about 55,000 visitors. I was afraid my hand would fall off but thankfully I was still able to do so,” he said when the open house ended at 4.30pm.
Thousands of people including foreign tourists were not deterred by the warm weather as they waited patiently in line to greet the Prime Minister. Visitors to the open house have to go through security screening to ensure the safety of all parties. The guests were treated to popular local delicacies such as sate, soto ayam, ketupat, lemang, rendang as well as various other dishes. — Bernama