Monday, August 3, 2009

Ex British Prime Minister - Tony Blair in Sabah, Malaysia, Borneo

Combo pictures of Ex British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, leaving the Sacred Heart Church in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia - Sunday 2 August 2009

Another pic of Mr Blair leaving the Sacred Heart Church - the guy on Blair's right is Mr Christopher Chiu - a Road Transport Department, JPJ Kota Kinabalu officer

All pics courtesy of Jaswinder Kaur's blog -

Video of Tony Blair leaving the Sacred Heart Church, Kota Kinabalu, filmed by a church goer via a mobile phone.

Highlights of Tony Blair

He was one of the world's most powerful person when he occupied no. 10, Downing Street as the British Prime Minister.

Tony Blair, now 56, was British Prime Minister for 10 years from May 2nd, 1997 to June 27th, 2007.

After he retired from office, Mr Blair is still a popular figure around the world.

On Sunday, 2 August 2009, Mr Blair and wife, Cherie, unexpectedly attended a sunday mass at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, in the island of Borneo.

He was apparently on a holiday in Sabah, which is known for its exotic tourists attractions, such as Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in South East Asia also a world heritage site, Sipadan Island (top 5 diving destination in the world), the 100 million plus years old tropical rainforest in Danum Valley and many many more world class attractions.

He stayed at the Nexus Karambunai resort.

Well, when Mr Blair showed up at the local church, of course he will cause a stir...

It is not everyday that a former British Prime Minister will attend mass at your local church.

And it is not everyday that a former British PM, choose to go on holiday in your state.

Members of the local and national media in Kota Kinabalu, managed to "smell" his presence and quickly swarmed the Sacred Heart Church.

At first, the members of the press got a false alarm and went to another Catholic church nearby, the Stella Marris church.

Blair and Mrs Blair were accompanied by few bodyguards.

This is the full version of the story as appeared in a national newspaper in Malaysia.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair caused a stir at a local church here when he came for mass with his family as part of a private visit to Sabah. Many didn't realise that he was seated at a pew in the middle of the Sacred Heart Catholic church until prayers ended at about 10.20am yesterday, and Blair stood up to leave the hall.

Those who recognised him started shaking his hand, not bothered by body guards who followed Blair closely as he left the church for a multi-purpose van parked just metres away. Some started taking photos with their handphones and others managed to take pictures with him and wife Cherie Blair, as their children disappeared into a vehicle.

Dressed in a black collared t-shirt, white slacks and skin-coloured flip flops, Blair who served as Prime Minister for a decade until 2007, offered a smile to everyone and accomodated a request from a few parishioners who wanted to have their photos taken with him. The excitement lasted less than five minutes before he was whisked away into his waiting van, but church-goers who spoke or shook hands with him lingered on for a while.

Civil servant Christopher Chiu said Blair took his hand when he offered to shake it when they left the hall. "I was so surprised when I saw him because I didn't realise that he was in church. He was so nice to me. "He told me that he liked the cathedral and was glad that many people had come for mass. "He said he is here on a private visit with his family," Chiu, an officer with the Road Transport Department, said.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong said he didn't know that the Blair family was sitting behind him. "I saw his wife (Cherie) and I thought that she looked familiar. It is only when I saw the excitement outside that I knew Blair was behind me, and who the lady I saw was. "I didn't manage to speak with him or shake his hand, but I am very happy that he joined us for Sunday service," Liew said.

It is learnt that Blair and his family arrived in Kota Kinabalu close to a week ago for a holiday. Blair is actively involved in charitable events through the Tony Blair Sports Foundation and the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. He is also known for his views on climate change and recently produced a report called "Technology for a Low Carbon Future."


Chironex said...

once in a lifetime photo/greet opportunity with the former British premier, and these pics and others taken could well end up nicely framed up on the wall. But at least the 1st 2 comments at Jaswinder's blog were fuming "shaking hands with a war criminal."

Chironex said...

And Christopher Chiu could consider himself the luckiest person that day - from the photos it seemed he spent the longest time talking to Blair from inside the cathedral right to the van. Even a federal deputy minister who attended the same mass did not even manage to get close!

Chironex said...

someone took a video:

Malaysian Hollywood 2.0 said...

why were you not there???? well sometimes we need the perfect moment - to be at the right place at the right time!!!!!!

Blair and family were staying at the Nexus Karambunai resort!!!!

Chironex said...

Well if hantu lautan / little birds told me earlier I would've gone to try my luck:

Malaysian Hollywood 2.0 said...

hantu lautan????????? what a name!!!!!

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