On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Durian solution to thorny issues

It came as no surprise that a proposal by Sarawak DAP
leader Sim  Kwang Yang to hold
roundtable  talks did not receive much

Sim had appealed to leaders of  the
fractious opposition party to  observe a
five-day ceasefire, saying emotions must cool down to discuss

A peaceful end to the problem affecting the party was necessary to  face the general election with a  united front, he said.

The former Bandar Kuching MP  has good
reason to be worried. The  DAP has made
it into the front  pages of newspapers
for the wrong  reasons.

The ruckus in the party has been  a case
of durian runtuh or windfall  for the
party's political nemesis.

Durian-eating, as most Malaysians will testify, is more than just  a ritual. It's a passion.

There's no colour discrimination  
whether white or yellow, all is 
accepted. The rules are simple and 
the event certainly sounds better 
than any table talk.

Over the years, the Dewan Rakyat has made it a practice to hold  durian parties for Members of

Unlike other countries, where so called honourable members throw  punches at each other, our politicians are a
more mature lot.

During such durian parties, it is  common
to see government backbenchers and opposition MPs nodding in agreement and
putting their  fingers into the right

The Malaysian press, which has  come
under fire from Opposition  Leader Lim
Kit Siang, would like to  see him and
self-declared independent MP Liew Ah Kim sitting together savouring a D24

Singaporean politicians should  perhaps
join in at durian parties.

They used to travel to Johor to  meet
their Malaysian counterparts  for such
informal functions. No  longer, it

They shouldn't put on airs. A durian feast where the air is thick  with the fruit's pungent smell will  certainly take that away.

Malaysian ports and the KL International Airport may not be attractive enough
for Singapore's  leaders but our durians
are a sure  magnet. As for the KTM land
controversy in Singapore, a durian  feast
could put things back on  track.

Foreign Ministry senior officials  from
both sides should seriously  consider
this diplomatic mechanism of negotiation.

There shouldn't be any udang di  sebalik
batu (suspicion) if the only  common
interest is the “red  prawn'' durian variety.

Last week, Deputy Transport  Minister
Datuk Wira Ali Rustam  threw a durian
party for the press,  the first for the
press this year  since the start of the
durian season.

Another durian king must be Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk
Seri Megat  Junid Megat Ayob who has
hosted  such gatherings for years.

It will be good if mat sallehs of  the
foreign media here are invited  to such
Malaysian get-togethers.  Beside having a
chance to get to  know local politicians
and reporters better, they may learn to really 
appreciate the country.

Sometimes, a sticky affair can be 
positive, just ask those who have 
been to durian parties.

The fact that the King of Fruits is  only
available in this region makes  it even
more unique. Those Asean  diplomats,
meeting in Manila now,  who cannot agree
on the question  of intervention should
immediately  hold a durian feast.

A durian party makes a lot of  sense. It
doesn't matter if it leaves  a bitter
taste. It's acceptable, even  welcomed,
as durian enthusiasts  will tell

It may even help prick one's conscience.