Pada hari itu, bukan sahaja salah satu punca pendapatan keluarganya hilang, malah dia harus mencari jalan melangsaikan upah yang perlu dibayar kepada beberapa orang perkerja.
Tertekan dengan kejadian itu, semangatnya tidak patah, malah dia mampu berdiri di hadapan keluarganya bagi menyatakan kesediaannya untuk bertanggungjawab atas kejadian tersebut, sedangkan ketika itu dia cuma berusia 12 tahun.
Akibatnya, anak itu kehilangan biasiswa persekolahan dan terpaksa membuat kerja sambilan dengan mengajar matematik kepada anak-anak seorang tauke Cina yang bersekolah di darjah tiga dan empat.
Akhirnya, hasil titik peluh anak kampung itu, beliau berjaya meringankan bebanan yang ditanggung oleh keluarganya.
Peristiwa kebakaran rumah salai itu memberi kesan sangat mendalam di hati kecil anak itu dan masih kekal dalam ingatanya.
Pada 1979, 21 Tahun selepas kejadian kebakaran rumah salai neneknya, anak kecil yang pernah menjual kelapa salai itu adalah Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif (CEO) di Permodalan Nasional Berhad.
Dua tahun kemudiannya, nama penjual kelapa salai itu menjadi sebutan masyarakat dan korporat antarabangsa.
Ini atas kejayaan mengetuai operasi ‘dawn raid’ di Bursa Saham London dengan ‘membawa pulang’ syarikat ladang kelapa sawit gergasi Malaysianized Guthrie (kini dikenali sebagai Kumpulan Guthrie Bhd).
Dua puluh tujuh tahun selepas kejayaan ‘dawn raid’, anak itu dinobatkan pula sebagai Menteri Besar Selangor yang ke-14.
Demikian antara liku-liku kehidupan pernah ditempuhi Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim yang sempat dirakamkan beliau dalam buku sulongnya, ‘Fearless: From Kampung Boy To CEO’.
Buku tersebut dilancarkan oleh isteri Menteri Besar Selangor, Puan Sri Salbiah Tunut dalam satu majlis yang diadakan di Hotel Sunway Pyramid hari ini.
Selain menceritakan pengalaman beliau ketika meningkat dewasa, Abdul Khalid turut menyelitkan tips-tips berguna dalam mengejar impiannya untuk dikongsikan bersama masyarakat.
Antara pengajaran penting yang dikongsikan Khalid dalam buku setebal 76 halaman ini, beliau amat menitikberatkan sikap bertanggungjawab dalam menjalankan tugas.
Selain isi kandungan yang padat dengan pengalaman perit dan lucu buku ini bertambah menarik kerana dipersembahkan dengan gaya penyampaian seolah-olah Abdul Khalid berkomunikasi secara intim dan mesra dengan pembaca.
Ketika ditemui semasa pelancaran, Abdul Khalid memberitahu, buku yang dihasilkannya ini merupakan perintis kepada penulisan bacaan yang lebih berat.
“Banyak kali rakan-rakan saya minta saya tulis buku pengalaman saya sebagai ahli korporat.
“Jadi saya hasilkan buku ini dahulu sebagai permulaan kepada penulisan yang lebih berat, lebih bersifat akademik,” katanya kepada media selepas pelancaran buku tersebut.
Menurut Abdul Khalid, hasil jualan buku yang berharga RM25 senaskhah ini akan disumbangkan ke rumah-rumah kebajikan.
Buku ini sudah pun berada di pasaran dan boleh didapati di kedai-kedai terkemuka.- selangorku
Mengintai kehidupan peribadi Khalid Ibrahim MB Selangor
Rare peek into personal life at Selangor MB's book launch...
Growing up in the Abdul Khalid Ibrahim household meant that birthdays did not come with toys.
Instead, his daughter Siti Izatul Hawa recalled in a video presentation during her father's book launch yesterday, birthdays meant investments for the future.
"We got 'amanah saham' (unit trusts)," Siti Izatul recalled, to laughter from the room filled with the Selangor Menteri Besar's friends and family.
Known for this financial prudence as state administrator, the strict dad seems to have changed his tune-at least in the birthday gift department.
"Well, with my grandson...," he trails off to bursts into laughter.
Two-year-old Muhammad Arif Fitri, his mother Siti Aida Fitri and her sister Siti Zaharah were in the audience as Abdul Khalid's wife Salbiah Tunut launched the MB's first ever book, Fearless: From Kampung Boy to CEO.
Rarely seen on the political trial, Sabiah's speech gave a peek into Abdul Khalid's personal life, including how the couple met.
"We met in Kuantan. There was no romen-romen (romance). I told him if you want me, you have to meet my mother, so he did and asked my parents for my hand in marriage.
"We were engaged in Ramadan and three months later, we were married," she said of the marriage which would last 40 years.
Praying against politics
Supportive of her husband's successful corporate career, she had reservations when he joined active politics by going for the division chief post in Umno.
She said her mother-in-law, too, had serious reservations over "what politics will do to her son" and the duo had prayed against it.
"He campaigned hard, coming home at 3am and getting cranky due to lack of sleep so my mother-in-law and I both prayed he wouldn't become a politician.
"He lost by two votes, so I'm guessing that was my vote and my mother-in-law's vote," she quipped.
She, however, supported him when he joined PKR, following the party de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim's release from prison, but was "worried" about Abdul Khalid taking the MB's post.
"When the announcement was made that he had won (the Ijok seat in 2008), someone carried him and said 'This is our MB!'.
"I thought of how life would be if he was the MB, so I kept praying, worried due the circumstances then which politicians in the room would understand," she said.
She added she was also anxious about how her life would change if she were to become the MB's wife but her fears proved to be unfounded.
"People ask me now how it is to be the MB's wife. I say I am Khalid's wife. At home he is not the MB, he is Khalid Ibrahim. Our life is the same as before," she said.
Thanking his wife, Abdul Khalid said their lives now revolve around keeping up with their only grandchild's activities.
"He can now speak two languages," the grandfather beamed.
'Passion for bashing Noh Omar'
In his speech, he tipped his hat to old friends and colleagues, including Selangor exco members of which he singled out exco in charge of local government Ronnie Liu (right in photo) as an "interesting personality".
"(Liu) is a great challenge to all of us. I try to get to know him so I Googled his name and got more stories than I have, especially in regard to how to deal with the police," he said, to laughter from the eco table.
He also thanked his political secretary Faekah Husin, who he said had been given a hard time by the media for her role, although he suspects she "actually enjoys it".
"She has a passion for bashing (Selangor BN deputy liaision chief) Noh Omar," he said, tongue-in-cheek.
Speaking to reporters later, he said the book is a light read which aims to inspire youngsters to strive for their dreams.
More a collection of anecdotes than a memoir, the 74-page book contains lessons from his childhood and corporate years, interspersed with pearls of wisdom and photographs of Abdul Khalid as a young man.
He said the book, which took six months to complete in the midst of his busy schedule, is "practice" for his next book which he hopes will be "more academic".
"This book is not to make money but to give back to society. The proceeds will go to Menteri Besar Incorporated (MBI) which will in turn distribute it to charity," he said.
"The main lesson is to be yourself."
The book is published in full colour by MBI and is available at major bookstores for RM25 each.- malaysiakini