Held Our First Urban Poor Forum!

Good morning. A round up of my weekend. The P104 office had our first experimental urban poor forum focusing on (a) how to save money, (b) reduce electric bills and (c) fire safety. The event was a half day event held at block 5 Desa Mentari on Saturday.

We had in total 55 registered adults and a small army of kids. My officers had bought 80 coin/saving boxes from Mr. DIY (cheaper than Daiso). I am particularly proud that my officers are very careful with money and appear to be more cheapskate than me! These coin boxes were given free to encourage kids to save money, and these went pretty fast. For the next forum, we will need to double up on the coin boxes.

We had 3 expert speakers, Trish from Malaysian Care, En. Azlan from Firefighter and Anthony Tan from Cetdem. The Firefighter company also donated 3 fire extinguishers which we distributed by way of a lucky draw. The planning took about 3 weeks to organise and execute. We had several people asking if we can do the same program for their blocks too. The office will have a post mortem study on Tuesday and see what aspects of the forum can be improved. One thing is clear, there is a real need for financial planning advice. This idea originated after I had a chat with Dr Suparno in Jakarta about the need for the poor to do financial planning.

After the event, I attended the wedding of Dato Saifuddin Nasution’s son. Dato Saif is PKR’s secretary general and the man responsible for pushing me to do economic and public policy for the party. I was seated with Dato Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and we had a long chat on recent political developments.

The event is rather grand with a lot of politicians and VIPs. As I walked in, I met the DPM Zahid Hamidi who was leaving. For a short half hour, political differences were set aside to makan and wish the couple well. I also met my old political boss, Zaid Ibrahim whom I greeted jokingly as “the most lonely but most wanted man in Selangor”. When I first joined PKR, Dato Saif assigned me to assist Zaid, who was then protem chairman of Pakatan Rakyat. Zaid was in jovial mood, presumably because Jamal has been arrested.

As Kak Wan and I were leaving, Kit Siang and Dr. M walked in. I also caught up with Mat Sabu at the stairs and joked that we seem to bump into each other much too frequently.

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