TREASURED COLLECTION: Student surprised, excited as VIPs send him cards and invitations to open house
KUALA LUMPUR: IT all started 13 years ago when Malik Syam Mohd Latiff saw a Raya card addressed to his father on a table in their house. It was from then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Malik, who was then 10 years old, was overcome with joy as Dr Mahathir was his idol.
He then decided to send a Raya card of his own to the nation's father of modernisation.
"I was excited. But I told myself I shouldn't be expecting a card in return from the prime minister himself as he was a busy man," he told the New Straits Times yesterday.
To Malik's surprise, he received a kad Raya berbalas from Dr Mahathir a week before Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
"I was over the moon with excitement. It was the best Hari Raya for me. The card came with his signature," recalled the 23-year-old, who is pursuing a degree in Teaching English as a Second Language at Universiti Malaya.
In the coming years, Malik sent Raya cards to ministers, including Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who was then the defence minister, and former international trade and industry minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, among others.
Happy with the kad Raya berbalas he received from them, he decided to push his luck further by sending one to the then Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Jamalullail.
He got the idea after browsing Istana Negara's website, which contained letter formats and procedures on writing a letter to the king.
A week before Hari Raya, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin sent Malik Raya greetings with a personalised card, which had the royal couple's picture on the front.
"I was jumping with joy when I saw the king and queen's signatures on the card," said Malik, who then decided to send Raya cards to other state rulers as well.
All of them sent him cards in return, and some even inviting him to their Hari Raya open house.
Malik takes pride in showing his collection of more than 60 Raya cards to those who come to his house in Tapah, Perak.
"People are amazed when they learnt that the sultans and ministers replied."
He keeps the cards with their original envelopes in a clear plastic folder.
Among some of the dignitaries who had sent him their kad Raya berbalas are the former Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, sultans, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, for-mer prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Wanita Umno chief and former women, family and community development minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Ab-dul Jalil, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hi-shammuddin Hussein and Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.