Of all the days of the Malaysian Business Global Forum [MBGF], I was sooo looking forward to this one. Not that I didn’t like the other sessions, but this one was special because it would be chaired by Tun Mahathir. Yep! ‘The Man‘ himself. The guy which every single, tiny opposition and pro-PKR, pro-PAS and pro-DAP claims to be an autocratic leader, but still, he still managed to put Malaysia on the world map. Yes, he deserves every single bit of the tag ‘Father of Modernization‘ in my books, and no one can dispute that.
I guess my excitement was reflected in how early I was at BCCK, being the first visitor to park my humble car in the VIP are (hehehe.. not that I am a VIP, but being soooo early, has it’s perks). Even the police and GOF’s were no where to be found. When I got up, there was not many people around, and the booths were empty. Yeah, it should be empty because who the hell arrives at the conference center at 730am when the closed door session starts at 10am? Told you I was excited =P
Anne spotted me being so free, and asked for a favor which I delightfully did. With Norman, Amiey and Fahriee also with me, we instantly jump the hierarchy from being ordinary media a.k.a bloggers, to becoming bloggers a.k.a organizing committee as we helped Anne and Rita in any possible way we could. After all, we had nothing to do, and sitting around waiting for the whole event to start was getting tiring.
Well,the closed door session started with the entry of H.E. Tun Mahathir and H.E Dr Haris Silajdzic into the Great Hall of BCCK. Upon being seated, H.E Dr Haris Silajdzic gave a short address acknowledging Tun’s importance in championing the Bosnian cause for years, as well as also thanking Tun Mahathir for his willingness to extend his ideas during the closed door session. In reply, Tun said that BiH should be a foreign partner of Malaysia, as he went on to say that he is relishing the prospect to come over to BiH in April next year for a similar conference.
The President of Bosnia left after the opening remarks, leaving Tun Mahathir and important delegates as well as observers in the hall for the closed door session. Well, I can’t say anything on the closed door session because what was said in these type of sessions, must stay within the four walls of the hall.
When the session ended, we started to stalk Tun Mahathir for a photo, and we weren’t the only ones. Getting close to him wasn’t hard, but getting really close till you get to say ‘Hi’, proved to be hugely difficult. Nonetheless, I did get some photos of him, which was just a consolation of the ultimate goal which was mainly to take a photo with him, and not of him.
The event then moved on to Four Point Sheraton were lunch was served. Here, Tun was given the opportunity to say a word or two which was the second thing I was looking forward too. Yes, I know, I could listen to him on TV or read his statements in newspapers, but listening to Tun’s speech ‘LIVE’ was a huge experience for me, and he didn’t disappoint at all.
Tun’s speech was short, simple and very meaningful.. He opened the whole session with a joke, saying that he was wondering why he was asked to give a speech when he didn’t represent the government, nor the state as both men responsible for these two things are very much alive and kicking, while the CM of Sarawak was there himself. He went on to say “Maybe I am standing here to represent the owner of the hotel“, as everyone burst into laughter because Datuk Tim Phek King was also having lunch with us. His speech went on, by praising the Sarawak as he said he loved Sarawak, and considered the state as one of the most dynamic in Malaysia. Tun also said that the State Banquet Dinner held last night can’t be match, even by the federal government as it is housed in a beautiful new building, as he said “At the moment, none of the states in the country have built such a complex, probably because they do not have the money,”… and that for me, was sarcasm at it’s best =P
I think, if you are still wondering why Tun is still considered a huge deal even after retirement, well… you just got to meet him personally. For me, the fact that he doesn’t need a prepared speech to say something meaningful and accurate shows how sharp he still is despite his age.
The luncheon continued with the exchange of about 7 MoU’s between BiH and Malaysia, and the presentation of appreciation tokens to H.E Dr Haris Silajdzic and Tun Mahathir. Just so you guys know, Tun was given an iPod as a token of appreciation, and the whole idea was mooted by us when Lilyana was discussing about what should be given to Tun.
Anyway, after the dinner, Fahriee, Amiey and I accompanied Lilyana around town as we discussed about future meets together. Upon reaching the hotel, we met Anne, David, Jane, Syed and Rita whom all told us that if we had left 30 minute later than we did, we would be sending off Tun Mahathir to his private jet at the VVIP lounge at Kuching International. Ouch!!! A missed opportunity!
Well, I guess, we didn’t have much luck meeting up personally with Tun, but for what’s it worth, I did shake his hand when he was on his way out of the luncheon. On the GMBF, I can say it was a huge success, and I made new good friends. Apart from that, I think both the delegates and politicians involved gained new networking in respective countries, and Kuching gained a whole lot of exposure around the globe as a possible destination for tourism, conventions and also business. Again, a huge thank you to people in Glenreagh Sdn Bhd which made all this possible, and tried their very best to make everyone happy throughout the whole event.