Friday April 25, 2008
Samak ‘cooks up a storm’ during lightning visit
By MERGAWATI ZULFAKAR
KUALA LUMPUR: It was barely a 24-hour visit but Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej managed “to cook up a storm” during his short trip. In between the official welcoming ceremony at Parliament and his meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in Putrajaya, Samak took time off to visit the wet market in Jalan Imbi here early yesterday. The market trip was a special request from him, and for good reason. Malaysian officials were at first puzzled by his request, but came away from the visit impressed.
Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej looking at bananas at the Imbi market in Kuala Lumpur yesterday morning. With him is Deputy Home Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung (right) and Bukit Bintang MCA division chairman Datuk Dr Lee Chong Meng (second from right). Samak spent an hour touring the wet market despite his busy schedule. His 24-hour visit is his first official trip to Malaysia since becoming Prime Minister.
“During our meeting, he said he wanted to compare the prices of food here and back home. He told us the prices in the two countries were comparable,” said a senior Malaysian official. “He asked how much does the average Malaysian earn. Samak then told us that from his calculation, Thais spend at least 25% of their income on food while Malaysians spend some 12%. “That is down to earth economics. He portrays himself as a simple person and may look rugged but he is not, judging from his thinking,” the official said.
After the Putrajaya bilateral meeting, Samak took on another mission. He prepared mixed seafood with basil at a dinner hosted by the Thai embassy at a Thai restaurant before departing for home. It hardly took the Thai leader more than 10 minutes to prepare the mixture of prawn, squid and fish for 40 dinner guests. After all, Samak is a well-known chef and has a cooking show on television.
Malaysian officials said that since becoming the prime minister early this year, Kuala Lumpur had been high on his list of places to visit. However due to the country’s 12th general election, his trip was postponed. “He may be in power for a few months but he is saying all the right things where bilateral matters are concerned,” noted a Malaysian diplomat. It is no secret that Bangkok, during former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s time, had made accusations linking Malaysia to troubles in southern Thailand. Relations improved under the military-installed prime minister Surayud Chulanont.“We hope Samak will continue the good feelings we have had with Surayud. He is still new and it is still too early to judge him,” said an official.
Friday, 25 April 2008
This Is What A Leader Should Be
I am impressed with this news report on the Thai Prime Minister's visit. It shows that he knows what is important to the people and what issues he should concentrate on as a leader of a nation. Now if only our local politicians take a cue from his actions, especially from the ruling coalition.