It was a very bright day and as we crossed the road, an old Chinese man was already making his way back. “Sudah makan ka?, Colonel (R) Azlan who was walking towards the main gate, asked him. “Sudah… Sudah”, he replied with a smile.

A Malaysian ‘open house’ had always been a day where the rakyat from all walks of life, irrespective of colour or creed come together just like one big happy family. Of late though, because of political interference, these open houses have been criticised as a waste of money and a lot of other negative reasons.

However, Deputy UMNO President, Mohamad Hassan’s open house has always been different. It is like the good old times where Malaysians would come, sit together and enjoy each other’s company. Mohamad managed to blend the tradition, food and rakyat together. One does not only enjoy the food but the feeling of togetherness.

Mohamad is a true example of a wakil rakyat. Everybody, the Malays, Chinese and Indians in Rembau has all the good things to say about him. He is the ‘wakil’ to every single rakyat in Rembau (parliament) and Rantau (state). “We won’t miss Tok Mat’s open house. If we don’t come, it is like letting him down”, said an Indian teacher who had come with his wife and two children. This is unity at its best.

Rantau is a clear example that if a wakil rakyat works hard and honest, ethnicity is not a hindrance for voters to vote for him. Rantau may be the only state seat with a balanced Malay and non-Malay voters where Barisan Nasional managed to win.

So are open houses just a waste of money? No, not in Rantau or Rembau.

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