Thursday, December 25, 2003

Malaysian PM sends Christmas Cards

Last Updated: Thursday, 25 December, 2003, 18:00 GMT


By Jonathan Kent
BBC correspondent in Kuala Lumpur

The Malaysian Prime Minister, Abdullah Badawi, has become the first leader of his Muslim majority country to send an official Christmas card.

Some 1,500 leading members of Malaysia's large Christian community have received season's greetings from Mr Abdullah.

The prime minister's card shows Malaysians of different races and religions holding hands and dancing.

The card itself does not explicitly mention the Christmas holidays.

But it does extend festive wishes for peace, happiness, love and national unity to Christian preachers and their congregations around the country.

'Discrimination' claim

Abdullah Badawi, who became prime minister almost two months ago, is a respected Muslim scholar and has long made a point of promoting good relations among the country's various religious groups.

Malaysia's PM Abdullah Badawi
Malaysia is predominantly Muslim, but remains under secular rule
None of his four predecessors, who were all also Muslims, sent out official Christmas cards.

Last week Mr Abdullah reacted angrily to a US Government report which listed Malaysia among countries which discriminate on grounds of faith.

Ministers are considering lodging an official protest with Washington.

Although Malaysians enjoy freedom of worship, some opposition leaders say that the state discriminates economically in favour of Muslims and that non-Muslims are excluded from the highest political offices.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

"Thank You, Tun Mahathir" (3)

Oleh/By : DATO' SERI ABDULLAH BIN HAJI AHMAD BADAWI
PERDANA MENTERI MALAYSIA
Tempat/Venue : PUSAT KONVENSYEN PUTRAJAYA

Tarikh/Date : 21/12/2003
Tajuk/Title : MAJLIS JASAMU DIKENANG SEMPENA PERSARAAN YABHG TUN DR MAHATHIR MOHAMAD

Bersyukur kita ke hadrat Illahi kerana dengan limpah dan kurniaNya, kita dapat menghadiri majlis yang penuh bermakna pada malam ini. Malam ini, kita berkumpul untuk memberi penghormatan kepada Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Perdana Menteri Malaysia yang keempat. Malam ini, secara rasminya, Kerajaan Malaysia raikan beliau sebagai seorang negarawan yang ulung, seorang pemimpin yang telah mengabadikan dirinya demi kemajuan bangsa, agama dan negara.


2. Dalam perjuangan untuk memartabatkan rakyat dan negara, beliau tidak pernah kenal erti letih. Beliau tidak pula kenal erti kecewa atau putus asa. Berkhidmat, berkorban dan berbakti telah menjadi darah daging dalam hidup beliau.


3. Malam ini kita juga ucapkan terima kasih kepada Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, seorang wanita, isteri dan ibu yang turut berkorban demi kepentingan rakyat dan negara. Terima kasih kerana sepanjang 22 tahun, Kak Hasmah tidak pernah merungut atau mengeluh kerana meminjamkan suaminya kepada negara. Kesetiaan, sokongan dan kasih sayang beliau telah membolehkan YABhg Tun Dr Mahathir untuk menumpukan segala daya usaha memimpin negara ke arah kecemerlangan.


Tuan-Tuan dan Puan-Puan yang saya hormati


4. Kepimpinan Dr. Mahathir telah banyak menukar wajah dan lanskap negara ini. Apabila beliau mengambil alih jawatan Perdana Menteri pada 16 Julai 1981, Malaysia baru sahaja menikmati status sebagai negara merdeka selama 23 tahun. Pada waktu itu, Malaysia merupakan sebuah ekonomi dunia ketiga yang masih bergantung kepada harga komoditi yang terumbang-ambing. Pada waktu itu juga, ramai yang mempersoalkan sejauh mana perpaduan nasional dapat dikekalkan, bagaimana masyarakat majmuk di negara ini dapat menjamin keamanan dan kestabilan.


5. Namun, dalam tempoh 22 tahun sebagai Perdana Menteri, Dr. Mahathir telah membawa Malaysia ke persada kecemerlangan. Malaysia telah melalui pelbagai pembaharuan fizikal, mental dan sosial. Malaysia telah menjadi negara yang disegani dan dihormati di pentas dunia. Ekonomi negara telah dipelbagai dan berkembang secara mampan. Perdagangan antarabangsa telah diperluaskan dan pasaran baru untuk keluaran negara telah diterokai. Malaysia mampu mencari jalan penyelesaian sendiri apabila rantau ini diancam krisis kewangan tidak lama dahulu. Negara kini berada dalam keadaan yang aman dan stabil. Kejayaan Malaysia sebagai negara membangun dan sebagai negara Islam telah diiktiraf dunia. Warisan pusaka yang ditinggalkan oleh Dr. Mahathir berada di mana sahaja kita melihat.


6. Pembangunan dan pembinaan infrastruktur negara telah berlaku dengan pesat, sehingga banyak kemudahan awam di Malaysia setanding dengan kemudahan yang disediakan di negara yang lebih maju. Kerajaan telah membina jalinan jalanraya yang menjalar ke seluruh negara, rangkaian komunikasi yang moden dan sebuah lapangan terbang antarabangsa yang diiktiraf antara terbaik di dunia. Kini, terdapat pelbagai bangunan mencakar langit yang menonjolkan kesenian dan kehalusan budaya tempatan. Ini semua telah menjadi simbol kemampuan dan kemakmuran Malaysia.


7. Dari segi pembangunan mental, Malaysia juga telah mencatatkan perubahan yang mendadak di bawah pimpinan Dr. Mahathir. Kewibawaan dan keberanian beliau untuk menyuarakan idea dan pendapatnya, untuk berkongsi wawasannya dengan orang ramai telah menyuntik keyakinan diri pada rakyat Malaysia. Dengan berbekalkan semangat Malaysia Boleh, kita kini percaya bahawa kita mampu menangani segala cabaran dan melepasi segala rintangan yang dihadapi. Kita yakin bahawa kita boleh bersaing dengan mana-mana bangsa di dunia. Pembangunan sumber manusia telah melahirkan barisan muda yang mempunyai kebangaan nasional dan nilai maruah yang tinggi, sebuah barisan yang berpelajaran, kreatif dan mempunyai pemikiran kritis - barisan yang bakal membawa negara ke tahap kegemilangan. Mentaliti inilah yang perlu terus dipupuk dan diperkuat - agar Malaysia dapat membina di atas tapak kejayaan yang telah disediakan oleh Dr. Mahathir.


8. Purata pendapatan dan kualiti hidup rakyat telah bertambah baik jika dibandingkan dengan 22 tahun yang lalu.. Kadar kemiskinan telah diturunkan dan lebih ramai rakyat Malaysia berpeluang mengecapi kemakmuran negara. Bilangan rakyat yang mahir dan berpelajaran telah bertambah. Formula perkongsian kuasa telah mengukuhkan perpaduan antara kaum, menjurus kepada persefahaman antara rakyat yang semakin ketara, toleransi agama yang semakin baik.


9. In the international arena, Dr. Mahathir realised that being a developing nation need not mean that we have to accept being marginalised. He has shown that being a developing nation does not mean that we cannot conduct ourselves with pride and dignity. His statesmanship has given Malaysia a reputation as a country that holds firmly to principle and campaigns tirelessly for justice. We speak with enough clarity to be heard and we speak with enough conviction to be taken seriously. Our engagement in multilateral initiatives and organisations, whether in ASEAN, APEC, NAM, the OIC or the UN is well documented. Our involvement in South-South cooperation through events such as the Langkawi International Dialogue is testament to our commitment to the "Prosper Thy Neighbour" philosophy. Malaysia is now truly a full and active participant in the global race.


Ladies and Gentlemen


10. There is ample evidence that Dr. Mahathir is a man of great foresight and vision. Few people would have imagined 22 years ago that oil palm plantations could be transformed into a gleaming new government administrative centre. And yet here we are, gathered together in the Putrajaya Convention Centre, in the middle of a grand design turned into reality. Few people would have conceived of a developing nation's plan to build a Multimedia Supercorridor - an area where the latest developments and innovations in information and communications technology could be conducted. And yet the MSC has purposefully spearheaded Malaysia's push towards a 21st century economy.


11. There are numerous other examples where Dr. Mahathir has implemented bold initiatives that naysayers were sure would result in failure - the national car project , the Petronas Twin Towers, the Formula One circuit in Sepang come to mind. All of these projects have been successfully implemented and stand as a testament to the courage and farsightedness of an enduring leader.


12. It has been said that Dr. Mahathir is a man ahead of his time - a man whose thinking is frequently 5 or 10 years ahead of his fellow Malaysians. This quality has propelled Malaysia to great prosperity and laid the foundations for future growth. The challenge that is now faced by his successors, starting with myself, is to consolidate the gains and great leaps that we have taken as a nation under his leadership. It is my privilege to carry on his efforts to take Malaysia to greater heights. We must manage our success properly for the sake of future generations - that is the best way to preserve his legacy and to ensure that his efforts and sacrifices have not been in vain.


Ladies and Gentlemen


13. I had the honour of working alongside Dr. Mahathir in the Cabinet for 19 and a half years, including serving as his deputy for almost 5 years. I have cherished the opportunity of observing the man at close quarters and have been inspired by his vision, dedication, discipline and tenacity. I know that he is averse to being idolised. He is uncomfortable with adulation and excessive praise and that he accepts accolades with shyness and reluctance. However, I hope that he will allow us this opportunity to express our appreciation and gratitude for his contributions to the nation.


14. Bagi pihak Kerajaan Malaysia, saya ingin mengucapkan terima kasih kepada YABhg Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, Bapa Pemodenan Malaysia. Kami berdoa agar beliau, Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah serta keluarga mereka akan tetap dilimpahkan rahmat dan berkat oleh Allah s.w.t. Kami berdoa supaya mereka sentiasa akan dilindungi Allah dan berada dalam keadaan sihat walafiat dan sejahtera. Semoga hari - hari persaraan akan diisi dengan kebahagiaan dan kegembiraan. Jasamu tidak terbalas tetapi akan sentiasa dikenang.


Terima kasih.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

"Send observers to see people of different faiths worshipping alongside one another"

Last Updated: Saturday, 20 December, 2003, 06:21 GMT


By Jonathan Kent
BBC correspondent in Kuala Lumpur

A Muslim boy falls asleep next to other children offering Friday prayers for the Iraqi people at the national mosque in Kota Bharu, Kelantan, north-eastern Malaysia
Malaysia is predominantly Muslim, but remains under secular rule
Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi has reacted angrily to a US report criticising alleged shortcomings in the country's religious freedoms.

The report highlights what it says are problems faced by Malaysian Muslims who wish to adopt another faith or who do not follow Sunni Islam.

The PM told the US to send observers to see people of different faiths worshipping alongside one another.

But opposition leaders say that non-Muslims are discriminated against.

Abdullah unimpressed

The report from the US bureau of democracy, human rights and labour assesses such freedoms worldwide.

Malaysia's PM Abdullah Badawi
Abdullah invited US observers to see for themselves

It lists Malaysia as one of nine countries where laws favour certain religious groups and discriminate against others.

It also expresses concern that non-Muslims wishing to build places of worship often face obstacles.

But Malaysia's new PM was unimpressed by the latest US Government assessment.

Mr Abdullah told Washington to send its observers to see how the Muslim-led government marking the festivals of all the countries' religions.

However, the opposition says non-Muslims face discrimination and are kept out of the highest levels of government.

Although they account for more than 40% of the population, none has held any of the most senior ministerial posts for over 30 years.

Malaysia also pursues affirmative action policies, which give economic and social privileges to ethnic Malays who by law have to be Muslim.

Friday, December 19, 2003

"Thank You, Tun Mahathir" (2)

Oleh/By : DATO' SERI ABDULLAH BIN HAJI AHMAD BADAWI
PERDANA MENTERI MALAYSIA
Tempat/Venue : PUTRAJAYA MARRIOT HOTEL

Tarikh/Date : 19/12/2003
Tajuk/Title : MAJLIS MAKAN MALAM PPTD 2003


Saudara Pengacara Majlis

YABhg. Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad
Dan YABhg. Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah Mohamed Ali

YBhg. Tan Sri Samsudin Osman
Ketua Setiausaha Negara
Dan isteri

YBhg. Tan Sri Jamaluddin Hj. Ahmad Damanhuri
Ketua Pengarah Perkhidmatan Awam dan isteri

Ybhg. Dato' Aseh Che mat
Presiden PPTD dan isteri,

Pegawai-pegawai kanan kerajaan dan ahli-ahli Persatuan
Perkhidmatan Tadbir dan Diplomatik (PPTD) yang saya hormati.

1. Terlebih dahulu marilah kita sama-sama memanjatkan ucapan setinggi-tinggi kesyukuran ke hadrat Allah S.W.T., kerana dengan limpah kurnia dan inayahnya kita semua dapat berada di majlis. Kehadiran begitu ramai pegawai PTD di majlis ini jelas mengzahirkan komitmen serta semangat esprit de corps yang tinggi yang ditunjukkan oleh ahli-ahli pptd semua.

2. Majlis ini tambah bermakna dengan kehadiran Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad dan Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah Mohamed Ali. Beberapa generasi pegawai kerajaan yang telah berpeluang berkhidmat di bawah pimpinan Y.A.Bhg Tun telah menyaksikan kegigihan, pengorbanan, komitment dan disiplin y.a.bhg tun yang cukup tinggi. Sikap unggul Y.A.Bhg Tun untuk menjayakan negara dan memartabatkan rakyat Malaysia sememangnya menjadi teladan kepada kita semua.

3. Malaysia, di bawah kepimpinan Y.A.Bhg Tun telah menyaksikan pembangunan prasarana fizikal yang begitu pesat. Namun, ini bukanlah satu-satunya lambang kejayaan Y.A.Bhg Tun. Beliau juga telah berjaya meletakkan negara kita di pesada dunia, sehingga nilai yang begitu tinggi sekali diletakkan di atas nama "Malaysia". Ianya adalah satu pengiktirafan kepada kestabilan politik, kekuatan ekonomi, perpaduan kaum dan semangat gigih rakyat Malaysia semua dalam membangunkan negara dibawah kepimpinan berwibawa Y.A.Bhg Tun.

4. Jasa Y.A.Bhg Tun , seorang negarawan ulung berwawasan tinggi, memang tidak terhingga. Saya mewakili rakyat Malaysia dan semua pptd ingin merakamkan ucapan terima kasih kami atas segala jasa, bakti, tunjuk ajar, bimbingan, cetusan pemikiran, pendapat dan pengorbanan Y.A.Bhg Tun yang tidak ternilai harganya. Penghargaan yang sama juga ingin kami sampaikan kepada Y.A.Bhg Tun Dr Siti Hasmah, seorang wanita yang turut berkorban besar untuk negara.

5. Berkat usaha kerajaan di bawah pimpinan Y.A.Bhg Tun , saya kini mewarisi pembangunan negara yang teguh dan kuat. Kita kini hidup dalam suasana yang aman dan stabil. Kita kini menikmati perpaduan nasional. Kita kini berjaya mencapai pembangunan ekonomi yang mantap, utuh dan jitu.

6. Adalah menjadi tugas saya untuk mengurus dan meneruskan kejayaan ini. Saya sedar bahawa tugas ini merupakan tugas yang besar. Ia hanya akan dapat dilaksanakan dengan sokongan, sumbangan dan pengorbanan semua rakyat Malaysia. Setiap ahli masyarakat, setiap individu, perlu mempunyai rasa tanggungjawab dan keazaman untuk berusaha membawa negara mara ke puncak yang lebih gemilang lagi.

7. Kita semua mengejar matlamat yang sama, iaitu meneruskan pembangunan negara untuk generasi akan datang. Oleh itu, marilah kita berkerja bersama- sama, berganding bahu untuk memastikan amanah ini yang telah diberikan oleh rakyat Malaysia dilaksanakan dengan sepenuhnya. Hanya usaha padu yang akan menjamin kecemerlangan dan kegemilangan rakyat dan negara tercinta. Kerjasama erat antara semua kakitangan kerajaan akan menjadi sumber kekuatan menghadapi sebarang cabaran yang timbul dalam kita menjayakan kesinambungan kecemerlangan negara.

Tuan-tuan dan puan-puan,

8. Peranan anggota perkhidmatan awam adalah amat penting dalam perjuangan membangunkan negara. Dalam hal ini, saya berpendapat bahawa pegawai - pegawai perkhidmatan awam telah banyak mencurah bakti untuk memajukan negara. Syabas saya ucapkan kepada kakitangan perkhidmatan awam yang telah selama ini berjaya melaksanakan tugas ini dengan cekap dan berkesan. Tahniah juga diucapkan kerana anggota perkhidmatan awam Malaysia kerana kerap diambil sebagai contoh oleh negara-negara membangun lain. Sebagai bekas anggota perkhidmatan awam, saya turut bangga dengan pencapaian tuan-tuan dan puan-puan.

9. It is an unquestionable truth that the Malaysian civil service has played a leading role in the success of our nation. Without the dedication and hard work of the men and women who carry the responsibility of implementing government policies, we would still be languishing as an undeveloped member of the global community. Armed with the spirit of "Malaysia Boleh", we have proven to ourselves and to the world that we possess the tools to manage and develop our own country.

10. But this does not mean that there is no room for improvement. We should not rest on our laurels. We should not be satisfied with what we have accomplished. We must continue to strive to achieve excellence and distinction. We must continue to infuse our work ethic with integrity, efficiency and professionalism. These are values that are essential ingredients in order for Malaysia to ascend to greater heights.

11. We have long prided ourselves on being a business friendly government. Malaysia has been and will remain a nation that is conducive to private enterprise. Private enterprise has been the engine of our economic growth and will continue to be in the future. But without a first class public delivery service system, the wheels of the machine will grind to a halt. Private enterprise can only thrive if the public sector plays its role as a partner to the private sector effectively. This is the central tenet of the Malaysia, inc. Concept.

12. As public servants, it is therefore our duty to provide the best quality service to our customers - the ordinary taxpayers, as well as the corporations that generate the economic activity that enables our nation to thrive and develop. We need to go the extra mile when discharging our responsibilities. The public should not feel trepidation when dealing with the civil service.

13. Kita patut sentiasa mesra rakyat. Kita mestilah dengan ikhlas mendengar, meneliti, menyelesaikan masalah, permohonan, cadangan dan apa-apa lagi tugasan yang sememangnya menjadi tanggungjawab kita. Kita juga mesti ada semangat kerja yang jitu. Jangan sekali-kali melepaskan batuk di tangga.

14. Kita perlulah ingat bahawa tanggungjawab yang diberikan kepada kita adalah bagi membangunkan negara, dan bukan kuasa untuk kepentingan diri sendiri atau, yang lebih buruknya lagi, kuasa untuk membuka jalan memuaskan keinginan membangunkan dana peribadi.

15. Saya ingin menyeru agar pegawai-pegawai PTD mengambil langkah-langkah positif untuk meningkatkan kemahiran masing-masing. Marilah kita terapkan mentaliti yang utamakan kualiti dan elakkan daripada menjalankan tugas dengan sambil lewa. Lengkapkan diri, dalam erti kata berilmu, berwawasan dan mempunyai kemahiran serta kepakaran dalam pelbagai bidang. Rakyat Malaysia memerlukan pegawai-pegawai ptd yang mempunyai daya fikir yang kuat membaca serta mahir menganalisis situasi, berupaya mengatur strategi, mempunyai high-level critical thinking serta kreatif, disamping memiliki akhlaq dan etika yang tinggi dan mulia.

Tuan-tuan dan puan-puan,

16. Sebelum saya mengakhiri ucapan saya, saya ingin sekali lagi merakamkan ucapan terima kasih kepada Y.A.Bhg. Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad dan Y.A.Bhg. Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali kerana dapat hadir bersama. Jasa mereka kepada negara tidak akan terbalas dan akan sentiasa dikenang. Saya percaya, dengan kehadiran beliau berdua telah menambah makna dan seri kepada majlis makan malam PPTD pada malam ini.

Terima kasih.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

"Postponement of Double Tracking Project"

Oleh/By : DATO' SERI ABDULLAH BIN HAJI AHMAD BADAWI
PERDANA MENTERI MALAYSIA
Tempat/Venue : PUTRAJAYA

Tarikh/Date : 17/12/2003
Tajuk/Title : STATEMENT ON DOUBLE TRACKING ELECTRIFICATION RAIL PROJECT

After due consideration, the Cabinet has decided today to postpone the implementation of the double tracking electrification rail project ("DTP") because of the need to prioritise Malaysia's many development projects.

The Cabinet recognises the letter of award to the consortium comprising Malaysia Mining Corporation Berhad and Gamuda Berhad ("MMC - Gamuda"), which was issued to initiate negotiations on the terms and conditions of an agreement between the Government of Malaysia and MMC - Gamuda.

Today's Cabinet meeting also recognised the benefit of upgrading and developing Malaysia's rail system to meet future logistical needs.

However, the Cabinet took cognizance of the need to carry out its development plans with prudence, towards achieving national economic objectives, including sustained economic development and a balanced budget.

The Government has committed to spend RM160 billion under the 8th Malaysia Plan and will continue to implement development projects, prioritising those with significant direct impact on the people's quality of life.

In view of this, and although Malaysia's reserves as at 28 November 2003 stand at an all-time high of USD44 billion, the Cabinet has decided to postpone the DTP.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

"The government sees its role in providing a conducive environment for business to operate"

Oleh/By : DATO' SERI ABDULLAH BIN HAJI AHMAD BADAWI
PERDANA MENTERI MALAYSIA
Tempat/Venue : ISTANA HOTEL, KUALA LUMPUR

Tarikh/Date : 16/12/2003
Tajuk/Title : THE M.I.G.H.T. CONSULTATION 2003

YBHG. TAN SRI DR. AHMAD ZAHARUDIN IDRUS
SCIENCE ADVISOR, PRIME MINISTER'S DEPARTMENT AND
M.I.G.H.T. JOINT CHAIRMAN (GOVERNMENT)

YBHG. TAN SRI DR. AHMAD TAJUDDIN ALI
M.I.G.H.T. JOINT CHAIRMAN (INDUSTRY)

YBHG. DATUK DR. AHMED TASIR LOPE PIHIE
M.I.G.H.T. PRESIDENT/CHIEF EXECUTIVE

Excellencies

Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen

1. Good morning, and thank you for inviting me to say a few words at this impressive gathering of industry captains and technology leaders. I am pleased to be here today to share my thoughts with you and to listen to you, on issues of critical importance not only to your companies and industries, but also to the nation as a whole.

2. Over the past few years, I think it is fair to say that we have achieved a good understanding of the challenges that we face in becoming a developed nation. We have formulated strategies to meet those challenges, not least is the establishment of M.I.G.H.T. itself, which has endeavoured to "Serve The Nation In Shaping Competency In High Technology Towards Sustainable Development".

3. I believe the time is ripe for us to act upon that understanding of the challenges, and to bring about tangible results in Malaysia's technological development. This work is vital as it will determine our standing in the global value chain, as well as shape the capability and well-being of future generations of Malaysians. Indeed, we must move forward on concrete technology advancement if we aspire to be an economically competitive nation and an internationally respected people.

Ladies and gentlemen,

4. Every business and industry is well aware that we now operate in an extremely demanding economic environment. The stakes are higher. The risks are greater. Economic cycles are getting shorter, and as such, businesses go through good and bad times more frequently. Competition is more open, oftentimes more unrelenting and brutal than ever before. Events with systemic impact, such as the Asian financial crisis, September 11th and S.A.R.S., occur enough times to make us more accustomed to extremes. Given this scenario, one can be sure that only the resilient and responsive survive and thrive in this new age of business.

5. Part and parcel of this demanding environment is what people refer to as the `china factor'. China's entry into the world trade Organisation (W.T.O.) represents one of the greatest challenges for developing nations to contend with, given china's low labor costs, vast market size and growing science base. But beyond the challenges, china also presents immense opportunities for Malaysia. In the past decade, china's role in the region has reversed from that of net exporter to that of net importer. The challenge, therefore, is not only to keep up with china competitively, but also to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by china's growth and expansion.

6. As such, in order for us to be resilient to external shocks, for us to thrive through intense business cycles, and for us to be competitive in the wake of china's rise, we need to develop a more diversified economic base, and to grow more internationally competitive local industries. Technology plays a critical role in the achievement of both these aims. Accordingly, we must not be content with being mere adopters and users of technology, but must increasingly strive to be adapters and creators of technology.

7. The M.I.G.H.T. consultation today is especially important in that context. In terms of diversifying our economic base, it is vital for us to ascertain, with a critical eye, our progress in the new growth industries and in the technologies that we have identified, and will identify, for development.

8. Perhaps, in reviewing our progress to date, we will find the imperative to further refine our strategy. With our constraints in size and resources, we need to focus our efforts intelligently on technologies in which we may distinguish ourselves or be able to use to best advantage, rather than attempt to be a jack of all trades. Based on such criteria, we could then move more aggressively into the selected technologies, and yield more results with every development ringgit invested.

9. In terms of becoming more competitive, we must increasingly apply technology to improve our ways of working, to create better methods of production, and to invent new products and new service concepts. In short, we must be more innovative.

10. Malaysian firms can no longer afford to compete on low labour and land costs. As an economy we cannot be comfortable supplying commodities and basic manufactured goods. Survival and success increasingly depends on our capability to add value at a higher and higher rung of the value chain.

11. The implications are clear. Companies which do not innovate and which do not find their unique competitive advantage will continue to compete on cost. An economy that depends on such companies will find its sustainability largely eroded, especially with more and more developing countries joining the global marketplace. We have little choice but to innovate and to add value, lest we are forced to struggle and to survive on smaller and smaller margins.

Ladies and gentlemen,

12. The government is fully committed to developing the nation's competitiveness by enhancing its economic and technological capabilities. In line with this, the government sees its role in providing a conducive environment for business to operate, in strengthening the country's human capital base, in promoting science and technology, and in encouraging innovation.

13. First and foremost, the government will continue to maintain macroeconomic and social stability, so that business and investment can flourish. We will provide quality `hard' and `soft' infrastructure, as well as ensure good public service delivery. In terms of foreign investors and non-national human resources, the government continues to welcome those with significant knowhow and cutting-edge technologies. Where it should, the government will work with the private sector in catalysing the development of new industries, while always encouraging the private sector to take the lead to drive growth.

14. Secondly, the government aims to strengthen the country's "software", namely, the capacity and talents of its people, especially in science and technology. We hope to increase our ratio of researchers and engineers five-fold by 2010, from 15 for every 10,000 workers now, to 75 for every 10,000 workers in 2010. We will promote a diverse mix of science and technology workers, from laboratory specialists, to technology brokers, to technology evaluators. Here, i would like to emphasise the need for Malaysia to review our "brain- gain" programs aimed at attracting talented Malaysians overseas back to home shores. To be more independent in the global economy, we need to have an indigenous base of talent in science and technology working in the country.

15. Finally, where it can, the government will play its part in strengthening the national innovation system. Successful commercialisation of technologies depends not only on the `discovery' of new knowledge, but also on having `linkages' to enable that knowledge to be translated into useful applications. Linkages between government, industry and academia are crucial in this respect. These linkages also extend to international partnerships. It is noteworthy that the spirit of partnership in M.I.G.H.T. transcends borders. The Langkawi international dialogue and other technology partnership initiatives between Malaysia and other nations, led by M.I.G.H.T., are commendable and should continue to be supported.

Ladies and gentlemen,

16. The government's role in economic development is clear and we will do all that we can to enable our industries to grow and flourish. But before us stand various key challenges. It is my hope that M.I.G.H.T. will continue to add value to industry in Malaysia by bringing people together in smart partnerships, working jointly on technology development, guided by clear targets, specific deliverables and achievable milestones.

17. On that note, i congratulate M.I.G.H.T. for successfully organising this event. I wish your deliberations success in leading us to winning strategies to enhance our competitiveness. It is now my pleasure and privilege to open the M.I.G.H.T. Consultation 2003. Thank You.

Wednesday, December 3, 2003

"Corruption, both grand and petty, is mankind's most deadly social disease which must be cured"

Oleh/By : DATO' SERI ABDULLAH BIN HAJI AHMAD BADAWI
PERDANA MENTERI MALAYSIA
Tempat/Venue : SHANGRI-LA HOTEL, KUALA LUMPUR

Tarikh/Date : 03/12/2003
Tajuk/Title : THE 4TH REGIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION CONFERENCE FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

Tan Sri Samsudin Osman
Chief Secretary to the Government of Malaysia

Mr. Kiyotaka Akasaka
Deputy Secretary-General
Organisation For Economic Co-Operation And Development (O.E.C.D.)

Mr. Gerry Van Der Linden
Vice President Asian Development Bank (A.D.B.)

Dato' Zulkipli Mat Noor
Director-General Anti-Corruption Agency Of Malaysia

Excellencies

Distinguished delegates

Ladies and gentlemen,

1. On behalf of the government and people of Malaysia, I would like to welcome all delegates and guests, especially those who have traveled from all parts of the Asia-pacific region to be here today. as a country that has always striven to uphold the principles of democracy, justice and integrity, Malaysia is honoured to host this year's regional anti- corruption conference for Asia and the pacific .


2. I would like to congratulate the A.D.B., O.E.C.D. and the anti-corruption agency of Malaysia, for jointly organising this important event - one that brings together politicians, officials, anti-corruption experts and leaders of civil society, in order to discuss, share and deliberate ways and means to effectively combat corruption in the Asia-pacific region, in the new millennium.


3. This conference is the fourth in a series of successful regional anti-corruption conferences, where many important milestones have been achieved. one such milestone is the endorsement of the regional anti- corruption action plan for Asia-pacific by 17 participating governments during the last conference in Tokyo in 2001. I am confident that this year's conference will continue to forge new approaches to strengthen our resolve to fight corruption and enhance integrity in all spheres of life. as an implementer, I am grateful that with such internationally endorsed strategies and action plans, we now have even more weapons in our arsenal with which to confront global and national corruption decisively.


Ladies and gentlemen,

4. Looking around this afternoon, I feel enormously encouraged that there are individuals and organisations all over the world that are sufficiently concerned about the debilitating effects of corruption on the human condition. it is people like yourselves who are making a positive difference to the lives of citizens in your country and throughout the world. I know I am preaching to the converted when I say that corruption, both grand and petty, is mankind's most deadly social disease which must be cured.


5. Efforts to combat corruption have never been and will never be easy. indeed, it is easier to ignore it, to sweep it under the carpet, or to even benefit from it. but confront it we must, not just for the simple reason that corruption is morally wrong, but because corruption exacts a heavy toll on a nation's social, political and economic wellbeing.


6. At a fundamental level, corruption is damaging because decisions are driven by ulterior motives, with no concern for consequences on the wider community. corrupt acts undermine good governance, fundamentally distort public policy, lead to the misallocation of resources, and harm the growth of the public and private sectors.


7. Corruption is also the single greatest obstacle to economic and social development. it undermines development by compromising the rule of law and weakening the institutional foundations upon which economic growth depends. if there is a perception that corruption in a country is dire, and the cost of doing business has therefore escalated, that country will find its foreign and domestic investors shying away from further investing and doing business in the country. in this instance, economic expansion is stalled, competitiveness drops, incomes fall, jobs are lost, and the people suffer.


Ladies and gentlemen,

9. In order to combat corruption effectively, we can no longer afford quick, ad-hoc short-term solutions. rather we must fight it comprehensively on all fronts, with a myriad of tools. the fight against corruption must necessarily begin with inculcating the right attitude and values in all of society, particularly among those who wield power.


10. Inculcating values, attitudes and behaviours based on the principles of integrity and justice is arguably the most important element in the fight against corruption. values and attitudes are shaped by an individual's upbringing and his or her life experiences. in that sense, the fight against corruption is a long-term battle, and begins with the family unit. knowingly or unknowingly, parents pass down their values to their children. it is, therefore, crucial that parents themselves lead an honest life based on principles of justice and integrity so that they can be an example for their children to follow.


11. Meanwhile, the education system, which shapes and moulds our youths, can also play a vital role in instilling good values. in this case, the Malaysian government will be reintroducing civics classes in the school curriculum for all students in the hope of instilling a lifetime of good values and ethical behaviour in our children.


12. However, merely appealing to a person's sense of right and wrong alone may not be sufficient to fight corruption. I believe that to be successful, we must always consider a systems-wide approach. our actions, especially in the area of good governance and anti- corruption, should not only be aimed at instilling the right values and attitudes, but should go beyond that to strengthening processes, institutions, as well as punitive measures.


13. In Malaysia, we are continuously looking at ways and means to enhance the pillars of integrity in order to work towards a corruption-free society. personally, I have always been a strong believer in the need to promote good governance. as many of you may be aware, in the past month I have vigorously pursued efforts to improve the public service delivery system to make it more efficient, transparent and accountable.


14. The benefits of an improved public service delivery system are wide-ranging, with positive effects on the economy through a reduction in the cost of doing business, through better allocation of resources, and through shorter time needed to complete a transaction. in enhancing the delivery of services, both big business and the man on the street can benefit. but equally, if not more important, a better functioning public service delivery system will promote integrity by reducing opportunities for corruption to occur. in short, by improving public service processes and procedures, loopholes and gaps in the system, which allow corruption to take place, can be eliminated.


15. Beyond this, sound institutions are critical in the fight against corruption. my experience as a politician and civil servant tells me that many of the problems associated with corruption have their origin in flawed or compromised institutions. it is out of this conviction that recently announced that Malaysia would implement a national integrity plan, which is a comprehensive framework in which best practices, new mechanisms, committees and structures would be formalised and implemented to promote good governance, particularly within the public sector.


16. To ensure that institutional capacity building has a sound ethical foundation, the Malaysian government is also supporting the establishment of a national institute for public ethics, which will be the prime mover of the national integrity plan. this institute will coordinate and undertake research aimed at promoting good governance, accountability, transparency, and efficiency in the public service. at the same time it will also provide training, courses and opportunities for inter-agency discussions on ways to improve the quality of service and efficiency in both the public and private sectors.


17. What I have hitherto outlined are preventive measures in fighting corruption. if implemented effectively, I believe they can curb graft, reduce incidences of bribery and monitor potential abuses of power. yet without the deterrence provided by enforcement, these measures will not comprehensively eradicate corruption. we need to ensure that punitive actions are as effective as preventive measures. national anti-corruption agencies must be allowed to operate without fear or favour and empowered to investigate speedily and comprehensively. for some, values and principles are insufficient. only the fear of being caught and punished can stop them.


Ladies and gentlemen,

18. I believe that the fight against corruption has to be a national effort. members of the public must be educated about the evils of corruption and co-opted into the fight against this scourge. just as we clap with both hands, we need to acknowledge that it is not only the bribe taker, but the bribe giver that is at fault. my government's effort to eradicate corruption will come to naught if the public compromises the integrity of government by offering financial and other such inducements.


19. Not only must the public not offer bribes, they must be proactive in reporting instances of corruption. every citizen must be the eyes and ears of the government in detecting and exposing corruption. let those who partake in graft feel unsafe and insecure knowing that they are being watched. in this regard the government will ensure that there are easy and convenient channels provided to the public to report cases of corruption, and that protection be given to those who come forward to report cases.


Ladies and gentlemen,

20. With technological advancements in I.C.T., and greater cross-border movement of ideas, people and finance, national borders are increasingly more porous, and corruption too has taken a more international flavour. for example, the evidence of corrupt acts in one country can swiftly and neatly be hidden away in secret bank accounts in another country. this is but one example that points to the serious need for greater international cooperation to contain the spread of corruption. after all, we already have international cooperation in piracy, drugs, and transnational crime; it is only logical that we cooperate to stamp out corruption as well.


21. Recognising the need for greater investigative expertise and skills to clamp down on the rise of corruption, my government has recently approved a 17 million ringgit allocation for the creation an anti- corruption academy under the purview of our A.C.A.. it will be the first of its kind in the region, and we would like to offer the academy as a regional centre for anti-corruption capacity-building - promoting best practices in investigations, monitoring and enforcement, and in newer areas such as forensic accounting and forensic engineering. it is our sincere hope that countries around the region will support this effort by sending their representatives to the academy to discuss, share, and learn from each other new methods and tools to fight corruption.


22. Malaysia remains committed to the cause of reducing and eradicating corruption, and we welcome any initiative that seeks to advance justice and integrity in all spheres of public life. to demonstrate our strong commitment, especially at the international level, I would like to announce that the Malaysian government will be signing the U.N. anti-corruption convention later this month in Mexico. the general areas that are covered by the convention include criminalisation of bribery; prevention of corruption and promotion of integrity; international cooperation, including in asset recovery and extradition; as well as cooperation in implementation of the convention itself.


Ladies and gentlemen,

23. I believe expectations for this conference are fairly high. this is necessarily so as much of our work will have a direct and indirect impact on the lives of so many people throughout the region. we can, and we must, do more to take on corruption in a clear and resolute manner.


24. I would like to wish all delegates and participants here a productive and successful conference. I hope this year's conference will result in greater understanding among all groups of the challenges that lie ahead, and of the need for greater collaboration in tackling the menace of corruption. on that note, it is my honour and privilege to officially declare the 4th regional anti-corruption conference for Asia and the pacific open.

thank you.