Putrajaya— Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Tun Mahathir Mohamad apologised to the Malaysian people on the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri for his actions in the past year that may have caused them unease.
He also talked about how thankful he was that he could celebrate the holiday together with the people who came to Seri Perdana, the official residence of the Prime Minister, who numbered in the thousands.
He said, “Maaf zahir dan batin to all rakyat Malaysia for anything done this past year that caused you unease.
I am very grateful because we can celebrate together this year, and I pray in the year to come also.”
He greeted everyone present on behalf of his wife and family.
In a short speech, Dr Mahathir said that he wished for peace in Malaysia. “Multiracial and multi-religion, but we can be together in peaceful conditions. This is our country, together we live in peace, we celebrate all festivities together. With that, our country will be peaceful, we will live in ease and in harmony.”
Dr Mahathir and his wife arrived at the tents before noon, to the delight of the crowd, many of whom, according to a report from the Malay Mail, endeavoured to take photos of the Prime Minister and Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Ali when they came, despite heavy police security.
It is estimated that 50,000 people in all attended the Hari Raya open house event at Seri Perdana in Putrajaya that Dr Mahathir hosted. The event was supposed to end by 4:30 but extended by more than an hour since many were still lined up to shake hands with the Prime Minister and his wife.
His cabinet ministers were also on hand to greet visitors with a handshake.
However, the number of visitors was still smaller than at last year’s Hari Raya event, where an estimated 80,000 visitors came to the residence.
Foreigners and tourists, as well as locals, lined up on Wednesday, some of whom waited for hours in the hot sun, which was interrupted by light rain.
In Dr Mahathir’s Hari Raya message broadcast the day before, he encouraged his countrymen to remain thankful to the foreign workers who helped contribute to Malaysians’ well-being and blessings.
“In enjoying all this, we need to remember that the comforts we have are due to the toil and sweat of foreigners who work for us. They are the ones who have toiled and sweated so that we are not without our necessities, including food. Without them, our country will continue to be a poor nation which cannot be developed.” he said in his Hari Raya Aidilfitri greeting, which was aired live on major networks and media channels at 8:45 pm on Tuesday, June 4.
He asked his Muslim countrymen to “control their urges” as they had done in the previous month of fasting, as this would guarantee continued success.
“Must we only control our urges during the fasting month? Surely in other times, we must also control our urges.
Muslims will falter and fail if they give in to their urges in other times.”
The Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, reminded Malaysians in her Hari Raya greeting not to ignore the less privileged even as the whole country celebrated the next day.
“The less fortunate must be given due attention so that they are not left out of the experience of this joyous and noble celebration.
Sometimes, it is not only monetary assistance that the underprivileged expect, but to be with their family, neighbours and other people.”/ TISG