For the past two days, I have been attending the Clinton Global Initiatives (CGI) meetings in New York. Over lunch today, after hearing speeches by Clinton, Bono and Al Gore, I sat next to former Colombian president Andres Pastrana Arango. The truly friendly politician asked the other Malaysians on the table "how are the politics in Malaysia going on." Pain was written on his face as he waited for our answers. The ever polite gentleman did not want to make it difficult for us. The questions were a reflection of genuine concern, to me. No stranger to Malaysia, he has many Malaysian friends, including those from the Green Rubber group. Minutes later, a Pakistan businessman dropped by to say hello and again, the same questions were asked. He was seriously worried that Malaysia would be heading towards a political disaster, as he has investment in Kuala Lumpur. It was the same tone - when will the political troubles end? In Singapore recently, when I attended the Forbes CEO Conferences, participants were asking the same questions too. They must be wondering why were Malaysians talking about "pendatang" and people arrested under ISA when there are more pressing concerns that needed action.
Tomorrow, I will be taking part in a roundtable talk with President Clinton. I have had the honour of meeting the man himself on Tuesday. Fortunately, the discussions tomorrow will be on how Asians can respond to the environment crisis when the CGI meets in Hong Kong in December. I will also get to hear Obama and McCain before the roundtable talk.