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Oleh/By		:	DATO' SERI DR. MAHATHIR BIN MOHAMAD 
Tempat/Venue 	: 	THE SHANGRI-LA HOTEL, KUALA LUMPUR 
Tarikh/Date 	: 	01/03/88 
Tajuk/Title  	: 	THE SECOND MEETING OF THE 
			SOUTH COMMISSION 





 Your Excellency Mwalimu Julius Nyerere;
Distinguished Commissioners;
Excellencies;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
    On  behalf  of  the Government and people of Malaysia I
would  like  to   warmly   welcome   Mwalimu   and  all  the
distinguished  Commissioners  of  the  South  Commission  to
Kuala  Lumpur.  I am very pleased that Kuala Lumpur has been
chosen   as the venue for your second meeting.  I hope  that
despite  your  busy  schedule,  you and your gracious ladies
will  have  the opportunity to see our country and meet with
our  people.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
2.   Malaysia feels highly privileged and  greatly  honoured
at  being  able  to  play host to this Second Meeting of the
South Commission.   The honour is further  enhanced  by  the
fact  that  this is the first time that the South Commission
is  holding  a  meeting  in a country of the South since its
inception in Geneva last July.
3.   Malaysia has other reasons to feel honoured.  Two years
ago, during the South-South II  Conference  which  was  held
here  in  Kuala  Lumpur, in this very building, the idea and
proposal to establish the South Commission was broached  and
conceived.    The  proposal  was  seriously developed and it
gained momentum when the Eighth Summit  of  the  Non-Aligned
Movement  endorsed  the proposal to establish an Independent
Commission of the South and applauded the acceptance of  our
esteemed  colleague,  Mwalimu  Julius Nyerere, to become its
Chairman.  Hence the South Commission was born.  In  hosting
this  meeting, Malaysia must be excused for feeling slightly
proprietary and gratified with the close  identification  of
the South Commission with Malaysia.
4.   In  welcoming  the distinguished Commissioners, I would
like   to   take  this  opportunity  to  express  my  utmost
appreciation  and  respect  for  their laudable readiness to
serve on  this  Commission.  As  we  are  fully  aware,  the
distinguished  Commissioners  are  prominent   personalities
shouldering  heavy  responsibilities  in  their   respective
countries, while some are already  serving the international
community directly. Needless to say, the commitment to serve
as a member of the South Commission  imposes  an  additional
responsibility  on  each  and  everyone of them in the noble
endeavour to advance  the  cause  of  cooperation  among the
countries of the South.  I have  every  confidence  that the
exceptional  qualities  and the invaluable  experience  that
they bring with them  will  stand  the  Commission  in  good
stead.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
5.   The Commission is set up to study and propose practical
solutions to the multifarious economic maladies  confronting
the  countries  of the South.   This is by no means a simple
task.   For decades the countries of  the  South  have  been
struggling  to  look for ways and means that would help them
to eliminate the inequities and impediments which  exist  in
the  world economy.   We have rallied together in our effort
to redress the imbalance in  the  world's  economic  pattern
through  our  call for the New International Economic Order.
While  it  did  initially  stir   some   interest   in   the
international community and  secured  a  faint response from
some  countries  of  the  North, nothing concrete  has  been
achieved.  And  today,  fifteen years after the call for the
New International  Economic Order  was  made, we continue to
find ourselves  enmeshed  inextricably  in  external  debts,
frustrated   by   extensive   and   growing   protectionism,
bedevilled by fluctuations of commodity prices in favour  of
the  developed  countries  of the North, and tossed about by
volatile interest and exchange rates.
6.   Against   the  backdrop  of   a   devastating  economic
recession, a future  which holds no prospect for improvement
and  against  negative  responses  to  the  call  for  a New
International  Economic  Order,  the  countries of the South
began  to  look  at  each  other,  in  search  of  potential
complimentarities  in  our  own  economies.  This  awareness
motivated the spirit  for closer cooperation among countries
of the South.   Hence  we  met  in Mexico City nearly twelve
years   ago  to  chart  the  first  programme  for  economic
cooperation among the  developing  countries.  The scope for
South-South Cooperation and its implementation mechanism was
further  expanded  and  refined  through the adoption of the
Arusha Plan of Action for collective self-reliance.
7.   Countries of the South were becoming more convinced  of
the  need  for closer cooperation among developing countries
as a means of achieving economic and social  advancement  in
addition  to promoting a healthy and more equitable economic
interaction   with   the   advanced  countries of the North.
Efforts for further  collaboration were further explored and
intensified.  Strongly committed to the ideal of South-South
Cooperation, we congregated again in Caracas.  The scope for
South-South   Cooperation   was   reviewed,   expanded   and
fine-tuned  to cover all major areas of fundamental economic
cooperation.
8.   It is manifestly clear that for decades  the  countries
of  the  South  have  seriously  searched  for some workable
solutions.  Nobody could accuse us of being idle and leaving
the  future  of  our  nations passively to  fate.   We  have
broached the concept of cooperation among the South when our
attempt  for  North-South  Cooperation met responses too far
short of our expectations. However, while everyone is agreed
on the  need, progress from that understanding to the taking
of positive action has been much too slow. The setting up of
the  South  Commission  has  taken  us  a while.  Should the
Commission  fulfil  its  task,  and  I have no doubt that it
will, the action  that has to  be  taken  to  implement  any
recommendation  is  going to be even more time consuming and
frust rating.  We  must  therefore be prepared to soldier on
and to overcome repeated  failures  and disappointments. The
fact is  that  the  obstacles  are  not going to be just the
political will of the  countries  of  the  South.  We are up
against the traditional patterns of economy set by history.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
9.   The  South  Commission  has  come  into being at a most
crucial time in the struggle of the developing countries for
economic  development  and progress.  It is established at a
time when the search for solutions in our negotiations  with
the   developed  economies  of  the  North  has  practically
grounded to a halt.   It  is  established  at  a  time  when
multilateralism  is  severely under attack and protectionism
is rampant.  It is established at a time  when  indebtedness
of  developing  countries is paralysing their economies.  In
short, it is established at a time when developing countries
of the South are faced with massive economic problems  which
threaten  to nullify their independence, gained by some only
recently at tremendous sacrifices.
10.  The establishment of the South Commission in itself  is
not  meant  to  replace  the efforts being undertaken by the
countries of the South individually or groups to  ameliorate
their  economic  position.    The attack against the problem
must  be  multipronged.  But  the  South   Commission   must
constitute  a major assault strategy which must receive  the
positive support of everyone.
11.  Although the task to be undertaken by the Commission is
a  daunting  one,  it should feel encouraged and inspired by
the full backing and support which it has received from  all
the countries of the South.  If we fail then we are going to
suffer  a  severe  setback,  for it is unlikely that another
concerted approach can be attempted for a  very  long,  long
time.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
12.  Permit  me  at this juncture to unburden myself of some
thoughts which the Commission might find useful.  We have in
the  South  many  success  stories  and failures.  These are
usually  more  relevant  than  most   analysis  on  how  the
developed   countries   achieved   their  present  level  of
development.  It would be very worthwhile for members of the
Commission to  be  fully  briefed  by  independents  on  the
results  of  the  many  different  policies  and  approaches
adopted by the countries of the South since the end of World
War II  for  example.  In  this  exercise,  we  have  to  be
absolutely honest with ourselves.
13.  Obviously some ideas or approaches can  be  implemented
earlier  than others.   The longer we wait, the more complex
and difficult the situation will be.   Perhaps it  would  be
worthwhile  if  the Commission can indicate certain measures
which can be implemented even before the  Commission's  work
is  over.    Perhaps,  the  solutions or approaches may seem
imperfect, but it is worthwhile to remember that  there  are
no  perfect  solutions.   All approaches will yield good and
bad results.  What is significant is the balance between the
two.  An imperfect solution implemented is better  than  the
perfect solution unimplemented.
14.  The  idea  of  setting  up in the South institutions of
higher learning is one approach  which  can  be  implemented
early.    We  already have numerous institutions in place in
the developing countries.   Indeed, they are  already  being
utilised  by  many  of  us.  What  is  needed is to identify
suitable  institutions  which could then immediately take in
students from the South. There is  bound  to  be  tremendous
savings  as the cost of education in developing countries is
usually  much   lower   than   in    developed    countries.
Additionally the foreign exchange will stay in the South.
15.  Mwalimu once maintained that ignorance about each other
is one of the factors that impedes a closer and more dynamic
cooperation  among countries of the South.  I agree entirely
with him.  We should therefore establish as  many  lines  of
communication  as  we can between developing countries.  The
news agencies of countries of the South should be linked  to
each  other.    Our newspapers, radios and television should
give priority and place for  news  emanating  from  national
sources  or from agencies of the South.  Reporting should be
fair and should avoid sensationalism.    International  news
should not be monopolised by the three or four dominant news
agencies  of the West.  We should balance them against those
of our agencies and leave it to the readers to judge.
16.  Apart from the news agencies, centres should be  set-up
in  strategic  parts of the world to collect and disseminate
news  of  economic  importance  to the South.  Contracts and
demands for supplies of commodities  and  manufactured goods
must  be  readily available from these centres.  So must the
national policies, laws and procedures required by countries
and Governments in the South.
17.   The countries of the South being the primary  intended
beneficiaries of the work of the Commission, should be aware
that  the  responsibility  for  the  success  and  effective
implementation  of the findings of the Commission rests with
ourselves. However, this must not be taken to mean  that the
South  Commission  should  be perceived as autarchic or as a
substitute for North-South economic relations.   Rather,  it
should  be considered as a complementary effort and strategy
which  would  benefit  the  entire  system  of international
economic relations.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
18.  I  cannot  but  stress  that  the  work  of  the  South
Commission   deserves   the  full  support  of  the   entire
international  community,  particularly  in  this  period of
economic crisis which requires commitment and imagination to
transform  serious   challenges   into   opportunities   for
development.  The   international community, in giving their
support to the  work  of  the  Commission  should  therefore
return  to  the  spirit of  the  60s  and  early  70s  which
witnessed  considerable  practical  support  for efforts  at
economic  integration  and   cooperation   among  developing
countries.
19.  In this respect, I fervently hope that the formation of
the  South  Commission  would  make  a valuable contribution
towards  the  revitalization  of North-South Cooperation  by
recommending  a  practical   and   meaningful   agenda   for
negotiation.  Such an approach, I believe, should  strike  a
responsive  chord among the developed countries of the North
whose understanding and support would be essential.
20.  The South Commission  is  essentially  an  exercise  in
self-help.    It is not too much an exaggeration to say that
the eyes of the world, in both North and South, are upon the
Commission.  Let us demonstrate through  the  effective  and
successful  implementation of the findings of the Commission
that the countries of the South are capable of looking after
themselves.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
21.  I now have great pleasure in declaring open the  Second
Meeting  of  the  South  Commission  and  wish  our esteemed
Commissioners every success in their deliberations.

 
 



 
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