Speechs in the year
Tarikh/Date 	: 	01/06/90 

 Your Excellencies, The Heads of State and Heads of
Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
    It  gives  me much pleasure to welcome you to Malaysia.
Malaysians feel greatly honoured to have the  first  meeting
of the Group of 15 non-aligned and developing countries held
2.   The  decision  to form the Group of 15, or G 15 as some
would call it, was announced in Belgrade in September  1989.
Heads  of  State and Government of like-minded countries at-
tending the Non-Aligned Summit decided that a group of  fif-
teen  developing  countries  should  sit  in  conference  to
discuss and find solutions to the problems besetting  us  in
the  South.  Contrary to what some quarters may think, the G
15  was  not  formed  as  a  counter  to  the  Group  of   7
industrialised  countries  of  the North.   I wish to stress
here, lest our gathering here is  misunderstood  by  others,
that  we  are  not self-appointed arbiters and regulators of
the world's economic affairs, neither  are  we  conspirators
against the North.  Rather we have come together to consult,
to  exchange  views  and  to explore the potential, which is
largely untapped, for South-South  cooperation.    We  would
also  like as a Group to foster dialogue with the North, the
absence of which has caused the economic gap  between  North
and  South  to widen further since the first North-South di-
alogue failed.
3.   We fully realise that we are weak and we are  very  de-
pendent  on  the North.   But we do hope that we will be al-
lowed to speak freely, for we  feel  that  there  should  be
democracy  not only within nations but also between nations.
To castigate us and to twist our arms  because  we  exercise
the  much  touted freedom of expression is to deny democracy
in the relationship between peoples and nations.  To deny us
our views by deliberately censoring them by  whatever  means
is to make a mockery of the freedom of the press about which
we hear so much.
4.   If  we  blame  the North for some of our problems it is
not because we are incapable of recognising our own  faults.
The  simple fact is that most of our problems arise from our
relations with the North.  Our problems cannot be because of
South-South interaction since we really have very little  to
do with each other.
5.   If  there  are  South-South  problems, they are between
neighbours.  Even here we often see the hands of the  North.
How  often  have  we seen the same country supplying arms to
both sides whenever there is a war.  A classic case  is  the
Iran-Iraq war.
6.   The  massive debt problems of the South is also not be-
cause the South purposely wanted to borrow and not pay.   We
borrowed at a time of worldwide economic prosperity when the
lenders  themselves fully believed in our capacity to repay.
The worldwide recession that followed and the effective  de-
valuation of our currencies were not of our making.  Lenders
must  be  prepared to accept the risks of lending and to de-
vise workable solutions, and if all else  fails,  to  accept
losses.    In  their commercial loans within their own coun-
tries they make provisions including write-offs  when  loans
go bad.  Similarly they must accept the need to make adjust-
ments  and  work  out  schemes when their sovereign loans go
bad.  Nations cannot be bankrupted in the same way companies
or individuals are bankrupted.  You cannot tell a people  to
live  at  subsistence  level until they pay off their debts.
Bankrupts can die, nations cannot.   We  cannot  make  debt-
slaves of nations, not in this so-called enlightened age.
7.   Then  there is the Palestinian problem.  When all other
problems of oppression by Governments,  real  and  imagined,
have  been given due attention and pressure exerted by those
capable of applying pressure, the  Palestinian  problem  re-
mains unresolved.  It is so because a repressive regime that
systematically  and  openly carries out a campaign of terror
against people in territories which it occupies illegally is
not condemned the way less repressive regimes are condemned.
Certainly economic sanctions and withdrawal  of  preferences
have  never been contemplated.  And so Israeli intransigence
8.   There are, of course, many other problems of the  South
which  directly  involve  their dealings with the North.  We
are not simply shifting blame but the fact is  that  without
cooperation and understanding of the North we cannot resolve
these South problems.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
9.   We  see  a  coalescing of the North American nations, a
union of the West European nations and now, around a  united
Germany, all the European countries of the West and the East
will  gather together.   And then there are those Soviet re-
publics which believe in a common European homeland  identi-
fying more and more with the new European grouping.
10.  All  these  changes have great significance for the fu-
ture of the world.  There is indeed a wind of  change  which
leaves  no  part of the world untouched.  Fortunately almost
all the changes taking place are for the good of  the  human
11.  We  should rejoice that the expensive Cold War is about
over.  But will peace between East and West mean  peace  and
prosperity  in  the  South as well?  In the past if one bloc
threatened any one of us, the  other  bloc  almost  automat-
ically  moved  to counterbalance the threat.  In the process
the threat was neutralised.  But what will happen now if any
power in the honeymooning East and West, or worse  still  if
the united East and West threatens us?  Will the old balance
of  power  manoeuvers  save  us from total domination?  With
some powerful nations applying their laws extraterritorially
without even a whimper from their former adversaries,  don't
we have reason to be worried?
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
12.  We  welcome  the  universal  espousal of the democratic
system.  But there is a fear that democracy has  become  the
kind of religion that communism became.  A system devised to
free  people  and permit them to decide their own destiny is
becoming a system that is worshipped for itself.   Democracy
is  no longer a means to an end but has become an end in it-
self.  Liberal democrats in the West have now set themselves
up as the high-priests of democracy.  There is a holier than
thou attitude about them.  Woe betide those who do not  com-
ply  with  the  latest  interpretation  of  their democratic
13.  For the liberal democrats, chaos, instability  and  re-
tarded economic growth with the accompanying massive and de-
bilitating  poverty  among  their  democratic converts are a
small price for these people to pay for liberalism of democ-
racy.  Indeed murder and assassinations of citizens are  re-
garded  as much more acceptable than any Governmental action
to prevent instability.   Sanctions and  trade  restrictions
and  vicious  campaigns that impoverish the already poor are
the weapons they use to force their liberal democratic ideas
on those they deem not measuring up to their standards.  The
methods differ little from the subversive strategy of Commu-
nist proselytisers.
14.  We admit that generally the Governments of the West are
not involved.  But pressure groups or  the  Non-Governmental
Organisations  set  up by their citizens are so powerful and
financially so strong that it is usually beyond the capacity
of most of the countries  of  the  South  to  resist  or  to
counter.   In addition they have access amounting to control
of the international media; access which is  almost  totally
denied  their victims.  By threatening the exports of devel-
oping countries they can exert powerful influence  to  foist
their  democratic  norms on others.   In fact, it amounts to
imperialism by other means.   And like imperialisms  in  the
past,  the  subject  nations languish and suffer without any
means of redress.
15.  The peoples of Eastern Europe and the Russian republics
have now discarded centralised power and planning in  favour
of  liberal  democracy.    We hope they will not be disillu-
sioned.  Merely being democratic will not save them from the
poverty created by their former centrally planned economies.
Political stability in a democracy requires a high degree of
sophistication among the people.  In other words, the people
will have to restrain their exercise of  democratic  freedom
if  they  are  to benefit from democracy.   We hope that the
people of Eastern Europe will learn quickly.  Their prosper-
ity can contribute to the common wealth of nations.
16.  We in the South must wish them well.    We  would  like
them to succeed.  However, will aid and loans and investment
funds be diverted from us in order to help them, or will ad-
ditional  and  separate funds be made available to them.  We
worry despite the repeated assurances and again I  think  we
have reasons to worry.
17.  There is a question that we need to ask the Group of 7.
When  a  few developing countries in East Asia made economic
progress they  were  categorized  as  Newly  Industrialising
Countries  and their further growth inhibited by the imposi-
tion of various restrictions.  Will the countries of Eastern
Europe be similarly labelled  and  similarly  restricted  if
they  achieve  the  level  of  growth of the so-called Asian
NICs?  I hope this question is not censored.  I hope we  get
an answer.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
18.  This conference will fail if we of the South do not ad-
dress  those  problems  which  lend  themselves to solutions
based on our own efforts.  We cannot really expect others to
solve our problems to their own detriment.    At  best  they
will only help on a basis of enlightened self-interest.
19.  There are many things we can do for ourselves.  Most of
these  would  be economic in character.  It is not for us to
involve ourselves in the political systems of each other.
20.  Firstly, the developing South constitute a huge  market
which  at  the moment is accessible largely to the developed
countries.  There is no doubt that there are very good  rea-
sons  for this being so.  But there is no reason why we can-
not restructure our markets.  We will continue to be markets
for the North, but we can at the same time develop our  eco-
nomic cooperation and trade with each other.
21.  To  do  this  we  need to learn more about each other's
needs, the laws and regulations, the systems of imports  and
distribution,  financial  and currency matters and a host of
other things.
22.  The advanced trading nations of  the  North  are  know-
ledgeable  about  these  things simply because their private
companies and public agencies have been in this business for
decades and even centuries.  Just one trading company in the
North would have sufficient  outposts  to  cover  the  whole
world.  They need not even trade with other companies.  They
are capable of trading between their own branches and yet be
conducting international trade.
23.  But  the nations of the South are practically all quite
ignorant of the tremendous  trade  opportunities  that  have
been  exploited  by  the  traders of the North.  To keep in-
formed and knowledgeable requires massive investments in men
and money.  And none of the developing nations of the  South
on their own can spare the men or the money.
24.  It  is  for this reason that Malaysia proposes the set-
ting up of a Trade Information Network and a  South  Invest-
ment  Data Exchange Centre to service the South.  We need to
know what is happening and what is available in the South to
foster economic relations between us.   How  often  have  we
purchased goods from the North when such goods are available
in  the South at probably more reasonable prices.  Indeed it
is most probable that we can find markets in  the  South  in
addition  to  the  markets in the North, thus increasing our
trade volume.
25.  We live in the Information age.  If time  means  money,
so  does information.  Yet we have no information about each
other.  Our huge markets and our resources in  material  and
goods  are  denied us because we are simply not aware of the
potentials and the opportunities.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
26.  For many of  the  distinguished  delegates,  coming  to
Malaysia   have   meant  going  to  the  North  first  --  a
roundabout, lengthy and costly  journey.  We have hardly any
direct air links between us.  This has   naturally  hampered
travel  between  us.   The same applies for all the communi-
cation systems.  Everything goes North before  going  South,
resulting  in  increased  costs,  inefficiency and inconven-
ience.  This prevents economic, trade and cultural exchanges
from developing.
27.  Of course, if there is no traffic it will not  be  eco-
nomical  to have direct connections.  But is it true that it
is totally uneconomic?  When the first commercial flight was
inaugurated between Malaysia and Europe one could  count  on
one's  fingers the number of travellers flying between these
two places.  Today, every single day huge  Boeing  747s  fly
thousands  of  passengers  between  Kuala Lumpur and Europe.
Would this route be lucrative if no start was made?   Is  it
not  true  that  because there are flights there are passen-
gers?  In fact in the world of the hard sell,  nothing  that
we market would remain unsold for long.
28.  The  Southern Routes between the countries of the South
must be studied and initiated.   It is important  for  trade
and commerce.  It is important and will be profitable in it-
self.    Let us look at all our communication potentials and
let us take the risk.  Let us spread the risk between  those
who can afford.  Let us begin.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
29.  In  August 1986 a group of people from the countries of
the South met in Kuala Lumpur and decided to set up a  South
Commission.    The  setting  up of this Commission under the
Chairmanship of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere was hailed by the NAM
meeting in Harare in September of the same year.   The  Com-
mission  has  now finished its work and we must congratulate
the members of the Commission for the report they have  sub-
mitted.   It has not been easy considering the financial and
other constraints under which they worked.
30.  I do not wish to discuss  the  recommendations  of  the
Commission  here.    But what is important is that we should
not allow it to be yet another academic exercise.    We  may
disagree  on  the substance or we may agree.  What is impor-
tant is that we must act; we must set in  motion  the  proc-
esses which will make this wholly Southern effort worthwhile
and productive.
31.  In  this connection I would like to mention the setting
up of a Secretariat  of  the  South.    The  North  is  well
equipped  to  deal with all eventualities and they are going
to be even better organised.  We in the South  have  nothing
even  remotely  equivalent  to the OECD countries.  With the
emphasis now on the North-South divide rather than the East-
West divide, the need for a more formal coordination of  the
South is even greater.
32.  We need not have anything elaborate.  We can have mini-
mal  staffing with an austere budget.  But even this is bet-
ter than having none.  If we are going to act positively  as
a result of this conference, certainly a Secretariat of some
kind is necessary.  Malaysia wishes to propose and will sup-
port the setting up of such a Secretariat.  I hope the other
countries of the South will support this proposal.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
33.  The  NAM started really because of a political need for
a third force when the world was divided into two blocs, the
East and the West.  It has done well, for despite the manip-
ulations and the proxy wars, we  have  survived;  indeed  we
have grown in number.
34.  But  the world has changed.  East and West division has
almost completely disappeared.   Politics  and  its  related
military postures are no longer as important.  Economic mat-
ters  now  dominate  and  everyone  is concerned with giving
their people a better life, materially certainly and in some
cases spiritually.
35.  NAM, the Group of 77 and  other  organisations  of  the
South  have  therefore  to take stock of their role.  We too
must change.  Ideologies should no longer occupy  our  time.
Admittedly  there  are  still  many who have to be liberated
from the oppression of alien domination.   We will  continue
to  support  their struggles.  But we must now turn our eyes
to the well-being of our people.
36.  It is not impossible for the poor to become rich.    We
have  seen how some countries have pulled themselves up lit-
erally by their bootstraps.  If they can,  others  too  can.
The  time  span may vary but it would be defeatist to assume
that some are just incapable of developing.
37.  We must continue our dialogue with the North.  We  must
solve  our  debt  problems  and  the  deteriorating terms of
trade.  We must together strive for fair trade.   But  above
all  we  must  create  new approaches to enable the South to
benefit from the wealth of the South.   We must  learn  from
each other.  We must help each other.  And we must stand to-
gether when faced with common problems.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
38.  Once  again I would like to welcome you to Malaysia and
I pray and hope that our deliberations will  yield  positive
     Thank you.