Reach out and rally behind the country, urges ex-MAS managing director

Reach out and rally behind the country, urges ex-MAS managing director
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala.

For MAS former managing director Datuk Seri Idris Jala, the MH370 and MH17 tragedies are a "serious wake up call" for Malaysians to go "beyond just the petty things" and heal the bitterness and hurt in society.

"If there is any time that would require people to pull together and have a sense of patriotism, this is the time.

"We are blessed as a country. We have never gone to war but at times like this I wish every single Malaysian would rally behind our country and say: 'What can I do for our country?'," he said.

Idris said he was really shocked when MH370 disappeared from the radar screen on March 8.

"I spent three years and eight months in MAS and I know many of the cabin crew on MH370. I don't know them well, but I know many of them, so it was really, really painful," he said.

When four months later on July 17 a second MAS flight, MH17, went down , he said it was "totally unbelievable".

That night, Idris was at a friend's dinner party when his friend received a text message that MH17 had crashed.

"I didn't believe it and I said 'No, it cannot be true'."

He said when the next text message came in saying it had been shot down, he thought "it was definitely not true".

"How can you ever imagine in a period of four months that one airline gets such high losses and fatalities? That same day, 500 aircraft flew that same route. I thought 'Why must it be Malaysia Airlines?'."

Idris has been on a 40-day food fast with members from his church and the fast ends on National Day.

"The reason we are doing this is because there are so many things which we need to pray for in this country.

"There are things outside our control and many things in life which require divine intervention and we need to pray," he said.

Idris draws inspiration from Nelson Mandela.

He visited Robben Island six years ago and saw the cell where Mandela was kept for 27 years without seeing his family.

"After 27 years when he was released, Mandela said 'let's forgive them (his captors)."

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