LONDON: The normally talkative and loquacious Ahmad Safiuddin Ahmad Razak was suddenly gobsmacked when he was introduced to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at a Hari Raya open house at the residence of Malaysian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Datuk Mohamad Sadik Kethergany.
Safiuddin and his wife, Nurul Erwani Zaidi, both 24, are parents of nine-month-old Ainul Mardhiah, who had had a 200g growth successfully removed during surgery last Monday at a local hospital in London.
“It’s my first time meeting him and I was so happy. I was speechless!” said Safiuddin of the 15-minute private meeting together with Dr Juling Ong, a craniofacial and paediatric plastic surgeon who took part in the five-hour operation to remove the tumour.
Anaesthetists Dr Fahja Ismail and Dr Najmiah Khaiessa Ahmad as well as London University lecturer Dr Sharifah Faridah Syed Alwi were also invited to meet Dr Mahathir.
They are volunteers, the backbone of the support system who had been assisting the couple prior to their flight to London as well as after their arrival, providing the much needed practical and emotional support.
Dr Fahja said the prime minister asked the Malaysian professionals when they were going home to serve the country, repeating what he said when speaking to the huge crowd during his brief walkabout.
Also introduced to Dr Mahathir was Dr Nur Amalina Che Bakri, the trainee surgeon who triggered off interest to bring baby Ainul for the operation here.
Over 2,000 Malaysians attended the open house where the stalls offering satay, lemang, rendang, chicken rice and many others, saw queues miles long.
But that didn’t stop revellers, who came in their colourful national costumes, from having a taste of authentic home cooked Malaysian Raya food.