GEORGE TOWN, Sept 25 (Bernama) — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today joined about 5,000 schoolchildren in cycling over a distance of seven kilometres here in the “1Malaysia Charity Ride for Education 2011”.
Najib was greeted by about 20,000 schoolchildren as he arrived at the Straits Quay in Tanjong Tokong here at 7.25 am for the event.
Also present were Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon and Penang Umno Liaison Committee chairman Datuk Zainal Abidin Osman.
At the flag-off, Najib said the programme brought to mind the time he had last ridden a bicycle as a child, which was more than 50 years ago when he rode from his house in Sri Taman in the Perdana Lake Gardens in Kuala Lumpur to buy the Tang Ling “nasi lemak” near the National Mosque.
He also said that in preparation for today’s event, he practised riding a bicycle yesterday from the lobby of the hotel where he was staying to his room.
“Last night, when I was practising cycling at my hotel, some of the hotel staff thought I was crazy to cycle along the corridor heading to my room.
“I thought that if I can cycle at the hotel, I would be able to survive the seven-kilometre ride this morning,” he told the schoolchildren, teachers and school administrators gathered there.
Najib said the programme held great meaning for him because it was in tandem with his brainchild 1Malaysia concept which transcended race and religion.
“I am proud to take part in this 1Malaysia Charity Ride for Education along with the children and families of Penang,” he said.
The prime minister praised the programme as a positive endeavour to collect RM15 million in funds to develop 15 Chinese secondary schools, five of them private.
“It is a ride well worth it and, if my participation in this programme over seven kilometres can attract RM15 million, I do not mind riding another kilometre to get RM2 million more for charity,” he said.
The programme, organised by Kwong Wah Yit Poh, also saw the participation of Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen, Dr Koh, Lim, Kwong Wah Yit Poh chairman Datuk Ong Gim Huat and Penang state executive councillors.
Meanwhile, Dr Koh, who is also Penang Barisan Nasional chairman, was involved in a minor accident at Pantai Molek when participating in the event.
When approached by reporters, he said he was unable to brake in time to avert knocking into two youngsters in front of him who had collided into each other.
“It happened all of a sudden. I could not apply the brakes in time and crashed into the youngsters,” said Dr Koh, who was limping slightly because of pain in the left knee.
Source : Bernama