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Mahathir offers apology for past unease at Raya open house

PUTRAJAYA — On the first day of Hari Raya on Wednesday (June 5), Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad apologised to Malaysians if his actions had caused them any unease throughout the past year.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad greeting visitors to his Raya Open House at Seri Perdana, Putrajaya on June 5, 2019.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad greeting visitors to his Raya Open House at Seri Perdana, Putrajaya on June 5, 2019.

PUTRAJAYA — On the first day of Hari Raya on Wednesday (June 5), Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad apologised to Malaysians if his actions had caused them any unease throughout the past year.

At the same time, the 93-year-old expressed thankfulness at being able to celebrate the Muslim holiday together with the tens of thousands of people who thronged Seri Perdana here.

“Maaf zahir dan batin to all rakyat Malaysia for anything done this past year that caused you unease,” he said in a brief speech at the tents housing the food stalls for the crowd.

“I am very grateful because we can celebrate together this year, and I pray in the year to come also,” he said, before extending Hari Raya greetings on behalf of his wife and family to Malaysians.

Welcoming the crowd, he said that Malaysians celebrating festivities together would lead to continued harmony.

“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,” he added.

Malaysians who had been queuing at least from 9am today got their first glimpse of Dr Mahathir and his wife Dr Siti Hasmah Ali when the couple arrived at the tents in a buggy about noon.

In a reflection of the smartphone-toting era, many visitors were seen trying to record Dr Mahathir's arrival no matter how far they stood, some even standing on chairs to get a better shot.

Others desperate to get a closer look swarmed around Dr Mahathir and his wife amid heavy police presence.

After his brief speech, Dr Mahathir shook hands for several minutes with some visitors, before leaving to the official residence where the actual greeting of visitors along with other ministers were scheduled to take place.

The crowd also whipped out their handphones to record the departure of Dr Mahathir and his wife at around 12.30pm to head to the official residence uphill.

As of about 1pm, an estimated 22,500 visitors had made their way to the open house at Seri Perdana in Putrajaya.

By 2.30pm, over 34,000 visitors were estimated to have passed through the gates of Seri Perdana.

Although the open house event which started at 10am was scheduled to end at 4.30pm, the prime minister's official residence was kept open as the event went into overtime.

Even by 5.30pm, people were still queuing up for handshakes with Dr Mahathir and his wife.

According to official estimates, 50,000 people had attended the open house event hosted by the prime minister today. MALAY MAIL ONLINE

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Mahathir Mohamad hari raya Malaysia putrajaya

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