Mahathir gets into driver's seat as he plays host to Jokowi

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad driving visiting Indonesian President Joko Widodo in a Proton Persona from his office at the Perdana Putra Building to a luncheon at his official residence in Putrajaya yesterday. PHOTO: BERNAMA
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad driving visiting Indonesian President Joko Widodo in a Proton Persona from his office at the Perdana Putra Building to a luncheon at his official residence in Putrajaya yesterday. PHOTO: BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR • Visiting Indonesian President Joko Widodo received the personal touch yesterday when he was driven by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in a red Proton Persona to a luncheon at Seri Perdana, the Prime Minister's official residence, in Putrajaya.

The two leaders left in the Malaysian-made saloon from the Prime Minister's office at the Perdana Putra Building, where they had a four-eye meeting. They also performed Friday prayers.

Lunch was prepared by celebrity chef Redzuawan Ismail, better known as Chef Wan.

"This was the second time I had the honour of sitting in a car driven by Dr M," Mr Joko wrote on his Facebook page, recounting that the first time was during an earlier visit to Malaysia some four years ago, when Tun Dr Mahathir invited him for a test drive, also in a Proton. "The speed was thrilling: It reached 180kmh. But today was calmer."

Mr Joko earlier said there were many topics he had to discuss with Dr Mahathir during his visit. These included the welfare of Indonesian workers in Malaysia, border cooperation and discrimination against palm oil, of which the two countries are the biggest producers globally.

Mr Joko also said the haze caused by forest fires in his country has been an embarrassment for him ahead of his visits to Malaysia and Singapore, as the problem has affected Indonesia's two neighbours.

The President arrived on Thursday for his two-day visit to Malaysia, accompanied by his wife Iriana and an entourage.

He and Dr Mahathir left for Singapore later yesterday to attend the National Day Parade. The Indonesian President returned to Jakarta last night.

Hazlin Hassan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2019, with the headline 'Mahathir gets into driver's seat as he plays host to Jokowi'. Print Edition | Subscribe