PETALING JAYA, April 22 — Datuk Seri Siti Nurhaliza treated social media users to an exclusive interview with former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali.
The singer extraordinaire aired the casual interview ‘live’ on her official Instagram account yesterday morning as part of her “Bicara Santai #Duduk Rumah” podcast to keep Malaysians entertained during the movement control order (MCO) period.
During the interview session, which lasted just under an hour, Siti aimed to find out what the power couple have been up to during the three phases of the MCO and how they’ve been getting through the long hours at home.
Two-time prime minister Dr Mahathir revealed to the 41-year-old singer that while he has managed to keep himself occupied, he was struggling to shake things up with his routine.
“This is an unusual time. I’m usually very active, doing work, meeting people but because of the MCO I have to stay at home and look for things to do now,” said the 94-year-old.
“I do have more time to read and write now which uses up some time. Time passes quickly, which is a good thing.
“But the part that isn’t easy is that it’s boring. Doing the same thing every day. Today I get to be interviewed by you so it’s great, but other days it’s very boring.”
Dr Mahathir added that he also keeps himself busy by exercising, using the treadmill and cycling machine at home, to stay active.
Siti also asked what plans Dr Mahathir and Dr Siti Hasmah have in store this upcoming Ramadan and Hari Raya seasons.
“We have to accept the fact that this year’s fasting will be different. With social distancing rules in place, there may not be terawih prayers anymore or break fast gatherings either,” said Dr Mahathir.
“But we can still go ahead as usual. We can pray at home, fast at home, eat at home. You can even buy things online and there are so many different options available too.”
He added that he will miss visiting the annual Ramadan bazaars, hunting for his favourite break-fast delicacies.
“I like to eat things such as cucur udang and popiah basah. But whenever I go to a Ramadan bazaar, I see so many nice things and end up buying them all,” said Dr Mahathir.
“It’s wasteful but I love to go around and look at the different types of food and how the businesses are doing.”
Similar to Dr Mahathir, his ever-loving wife of the past 64 years revealed that she also spends her free time at home during the MCO exercising.
“I wake up early, shower and have my breakfast. Then I start with my exercises,” said Dr Siti Hasmah.
“I do exercises to keep my bones, muscles, joints and legs strong. We need to do these exercises to keep the body moving because we tend to sit and sleep more now.”
She added that she also spends a lot of time playing music as her eyes get tired from reading.
Dr Siti Hasmah also mentioned that there were some advantages to being stuck at home as well.
“It’s just the two of us here at home. Everyone else including our grandkids are in their own homes, But we’re still lucky to be able to interact with them online,” she said.
“It’s actually much easier for people to talk to us. There are fewer formalities like when people come over to the house.
“So Marina usually gets all our grandkids together to have a video call with us. It’s really fun to still be able to see them.”
The interview saw thousands of Malaysians listen in, recording over 63,000 viewers during the session, as many social media users sent well wishes their way.
Signing off, Siti pleaded with her compatriots to continue abiding by the rules of the MCO, using Dr Mahathir as her prime example.
“If Dr Mahathir, who’s known for being so active and sharp at his age, can be disciplined, stay at home and find things to do, then everyone else should be able to as well,” said Siti Nurhaliza.
Siti has always spoken highly of Dr Mahathir and Dr Siti Hasmah, somewhat considering them as her second parents as she fondly refers to them as “father” and “mother”.
Last month, Dr Mahathir also took part in another online chat session with local actress and entrepreneur Neelofa, who also had one with Siti Nurhaliza as well.