According to GEC's Lord Prior, John Major did a 'bloody good job for Britain' in Malaysia when he secured the country over £1 billion-worth of orders. Certainly the British presented a utilitarian approach that must have surprised the businessmen of their former colony.
At the dinner held by prime minister Mahathir in honour of the British delegation, the representatives of Malaysia's booming economy packed the drive of their premier's official residence in Kuala Lumpur with their gleaming black limousines. Which British marque was chosen to transport our own delegation? A Bentley? A Rolls-Royce?
No, the British party eschewed ostentation and arrived in a local bus - the only ones, indeed, to do so. Perhaps the presence of Geoff Hollyhead, chairman of Trinity Holdings, might explain this unorthodox entrance. The two prime ministers had earlier witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Trinity and UMW, a Malay engineering company, which would see Dennis buses built in UMW's local factories. Trinity expects the first of the new buses from the joint venture to be on Malaysian bus routes early in the first year of production. We can expect the next delegation to arrive in marginally better style aboard a Dennis bus. Ding ding.