Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi to Yemen Times:”We want to share experiences with Yemen and the world” [Archives:2004/762/Front Page]
By Yemen Times Staff
His Excellency, the recently elected Malaysian Prime Minister Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told the Yemen Times that Malaysia is willing to share experiences with Yemen and the rest of the world, especially the developing world. He asserted to the Editor of Yemen Times Walid Al-Saqqaf, during a meeting with participants at the Malaysian International Visitors Program in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, that Malaysia's means to develop the country and make it progressive were no secret and that the country was willing to share it. “We are willing to share our experiences, not only with the Muslim countries, including Yemen, but also with others. Our system of running the country's affairs is based on law enforcement that preserves the rights of citizens while applying the law in a proper and adequate manner.”
Malaysia: an example
Concerning whether Malaysia can be an example for other countries, Mr. Badawi said that it could provide that for every country and also would ensure that it would take what is best suitable for its economy and development from Malaysia. “It is not a matter of copying our country's system, but rather of sharing and establishing common grounds for cooperation.” he said. Among the positive attributes of Malaysia is, according to Mr. Badawi, “economic growth” which reached more than 7% in the first quarter of 2004. He attributed this substantial growth to the private sector. “The private sector is the driving engine of the economy.” he affirmed.
He also added that Malaysia was successful after boosting the income of citizens in rural areas by focusing on industrializing agriculture and providing new and better sources of income for hundreds of thousands of families throughout the country. It is worth noting that Malaysia is the largest producer and exporter of palm oil in the world. More than 2 million people benefit directly from this massive industry.
Fighting corruption: A priority
Mr. Badawi has also been admired by his nation and people around the world for his strong and stiff measures taken, in dealing with corruption. “Corruption is something I cannot tolerate. I have made sure that Malaysia's fight against corruption should be elevated, but that doesn't mean coming after suspected officials for no reason, but rather by taking the correct and appropriate measures against those found, by undisputed evidence, to be corrupt.” Mr. Badawi said.
Mahathir has a different style
Yemen Times then asked about the style of Badawi in running the government. “In a meeting conducted with former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed, he said that you have in mind the same objective and strategy, but have your own different style. What is this style?” was the question to which Mr. Badawi replied, “As a country, Malaysia has short and long-term plans, and it is logical to conclude that I would continue the different plans set up before for the country's development. It must be asserted here that even though our styles are different, we are equally committed to develop the country in all aspects. I was told that I am calmer and take things more quietly. I, however, believe that as a Muslim leader, I have a responsibility to showcase Malaysia that practices moderate Islam, which is a religion of peace and love. Everything we have achieved as a nation should not be attributed to one person, but rather to the many people who worked for this country since it was first established. We as Malaysians like to have our leaders an example for the people. They should be the most respected, elite, and hard working individuals who can be followed by others. We resembled this with our founders who emphasized unity and tolerance between religions. I believe in this too and will be dedicated to maintain this way of governance.”
Concerns of Malaysia
The Malaysian Prime Minister, however, mentioned that there were several issues that concerned his country. Among them was the issue of terrorism and events in the Middle East. “There is progress in Malaysia concerning combating terrorism in the country. We are thankful to all those who contributed to making Malaysia a secure and peaceful country that has not been greatly affected by the ongoing war on terrorism.” he said.
“But we are concerned about the situation in the Middle East. We have come to see that there may be plans to demolish the holy Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem or part of it. We believe that such a thing would be a serious miscalculation that could lead to negative consequences. Such action would result in an even greater hatred and enmity of Muslims, not only in Palestine but throughout the world because Al-Aqsa Mosque was the first 'Qibla' for Muslims and is an extremely holy site for them.” The Prime Minister said.
He also added that US-Malaysia relations are getting better especially after his latest visit to the USA in which he exchanged views with President George W. Bush and conveyed the opinion of Muslim nations concerning the unilateral decision on the war on Iraq and the biasness towards Israel. “We also discussed Malaysia's potential participation in building the infrastructure of Iraq and said that Islam should not be associated with terrorism.” he said.
Badawi added that US-Malaysia cooperation will continue to grow in all fields, despite some political disputes about US policies in the Middle East. As for US elections, Mr. Badawi said he cannot predict the winner in the upcoming US elections which is a local event that cannot be predicted. “No one can ever predict who will be president in the USA! But no matter who becomes president, Malaysia's willingness to cooperate will continue.” he added.
Wishing to come to Yemen
At the end of the meeting, PM Badawi expressed his desire to come to Yemen and visit the country, where the ones who spread Islam to Malaysia (and Southeast Asia) came from (Hadhramout).
“I will be looking forward to visiting Yemen once I tackle the other priorities that we have in the country.” he concluded.