Speechs in the year
Tarikh/Date 	: 	07/05/83 

Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirimdhorn; Tengku Tan Sri
Mohamad, Chairman of the Organising Committee; Distinguished
Guests; Ladies and Gentlemen.

I take this opportunity, on behalf of my wife and I, to express our
sincere appreciation to the organisers of the Fifth Conference of Red
Cross/Red Crescent Leaders of Countries within ASEAN, for inviting us to
be present here to-day. It is, indeed, a privilege and honour for me to
address this gathering of distinguished delegates, observers and guests
from so many organisations. On behalf of the Government and the people of
Malaysia, I have great pleasure in welcoming you all to Kuala Lumpur. To
you, Your Royal Highness, may I assure you that your visit to Malaysia,
besides being a historical event, is yet another expression of strong
bonds of friendship and cordial relations that exist between Thailand and

2. To the distinguished delegates from the ASEAN countries and observers
from Japan and Brunei, as well as representatives from the International
Committee of the Red Cross and the League of Red Cross Societies, on
behalf of the Malaysian Red Crescent Society, I extend a warm welcome and
I hope that this Conference will further strengthen our movement on
world-wide and regional basis. The presence and participation of others
from the various national and international organisations is proof of the
support for the movement.

3. I understand that this Conference is the fifth in the series, but the
first in Kuala Lumpur. I am confident that this Conference, held from time
to time, will not only be beneficial to the Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies but will also help in fostering greater cooperation for the
success of ASEAN.

4. The theme that you have adopted for this Conference, that is "The ASEAN
approach for Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in the Eighties", shows
how sensitive the movement is towards adjusting to new development and
changing realities. The theme allows the Conference to adopt a forward
looking view which could prove very rewarding and stimulating for every

5. We are living in an era of rapid change. Not only are things around us
changing, but we ourselves are being subjected to change. Never before
have we witnessed such a phenomenon whereby we are both the active agent
as well as object of change. Scientific and technological advancement have
been one of the main facilitators of this change. New discoveries,
inventions and innovations in the various fields offer us tremendous
possibilities in improving our well being and our
environment. Nevertheless, positive developments always carry some
undesirable effects, while some are subject to misuse and abuse.

6. The advancement of science and technology has resulted in new
inventions and innovations in both hardware and software in the areas of
health and medicine, communication and transportation, weapons and
machinery among others. While new drugs, methods and techniques are
progressing in the field of medicine, the sufferings of the people
afflicted by the use of new weaponry, or even misuse and abuse of drugs,
neglect of security precautions in factories and plants, and widespread
crime and brutality with sophisticated weapons brings about a new and
complicated dimension in the role of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in
providing aid, welfare and social services.

7. The general advancement made does not reduce the need for the services
of the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies. Famine, disasters, accidents
and such like are still very much with us. In addition we now have the
plight of refugees resulting from political and military conflicts which
require the services of the Red Cross and Red Crescent and other voluntary
organisations. Indeed there are more and more areas in which the services
of the Red Cross and Red Crescent are needed. The fact that our services
are more and more required by suffering humanity is itself a reward which
should encourage us to strive further in performing our role.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

8. During the late seventies, the ASEAN Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies rallied round their respective Governments to deal with the
problem of the Vietnamese Boat People by providing various forms of social
care. The ASEAN countries certainly benefitted from the dedicated and
effective services provided by the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies as
auxiliaries to their respective Governments. In fact, they demonstrated to
their Governments certain specific aspects of coping with this problem
which was somewhat new to this region.

9. From the reports of the previous Conferences of this nature, I
understand that the ASEAN Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have taken
a serious view of the 1976 Declaration of ASEAN Foreign Ministers with
regard to Disaster. I am glad to note that at the Fourth Meeting of ASEAN
Experts on Natural Disasters, held in Kuala Lumpur in December 1981, our
Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies participated as a group. Natural
disasters which tend to become increasingly destructive because of larger
populations and zones of economic activities is of grave concern to
us. Since these natural phenomena will continue to occur, we cannot avoid
but be more prepared. While the prime responsibility still lies with the
Governments, the community organisations nevertheless have an important
role to play. I am glad to note that the ASEAN Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies continue to play an active role in the various forms of
counter-disaster response activities, mainly through disaster preparedness
and relief.

10. The Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, like almost all other
voluntary organisations, are bound to experience the effects of the
current world-wide economic recession. The slow-down in growth experienced
by the public and private sectors will invariably be reflected in their
financial and other forms of support for the voluntary sector. Hence, it
is imperative that the voluntary agencies take a closer look at their
present organisation and operations. They need to reassess the needs and
priorities of their programmes and evaluate their performances in order to
achieve a higher degree of accountability. Wherever possible, duplication
of programmes and activities should be avoided and effective managerial
input be provided to meet new challenges.

11. This Conference demonstrates the relationship and concern of ASEAN
countries on a people-to-people basis. ASEAN people have many things in
common. It is through interaction and cooperation of ASEAN organisations,
such as the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, that we are able to
appreciate our common problems and aspirations. We need to continually
find alternatives to the traditional approaches of the developed
countries. We need to plan and develop solutions to our common problems
based on our regional experiences and resources. I am sure that you will
also identify realistic ways and means of implementing the recommendations
to be made at this Conference, and I am sure that the people and
Governments of ASEAN are looking forward to learning about your
deliberations and recommendations.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

12. With these words, I have great pleasure in declaring the Fifth
Conference of Red Cross/Red Crescent Leaders of Countries within ASEAN
open, and wish you all every success.

Thank you.