The first 10 minutes of my interview with Malayan Banking Bhd group president and CEO Datuk Abdul Farid Alias are spent discussing the shrinking green lungs in Kuala Lumpur, a topic inspired by the sprawling view from his level 48 office. Encouraged though we are by our city’s impressive skyline, we also lament the lack of public access parks and how strong the tendency is to develop any amount of green space left. For all the environmental travesties that golf courses are accused of committing, at least they are a dedicated, untouched patch of green, versus painfully bare and barren land or yet another concrete edifice. This is a point once made by Australian golfing great Greg Norman, and one that Farid agrees with.
Apart from being the ultimate icebreaker, this part of our conversation was a nice way to ease into the subject at hand — the upcoming Maybank Championship golf tournament, which will be held at the elegant Saujana Golf & Country Club from Feb 1 to 4. This is the third iteration of the tournament in its current form, after a decade of running as the Maybank Malaysian Open. Boasting a purse of US$3 million, the four-day tournament will play out on Saujana’s Palm Course — nicknamed the Cobra — which was upgraded last year, reinforcing its standing as one of the most difficult golf courses in the world, and a leading championship course in Asia.
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