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Oleh/By		:	DATO' SERI DR. MAHATHIR BIN MOHAMAD 
Tempat/Venue 	: 	CARACAS, VENEZUELA 
Tarikh/Date 	: 	02/08/90 
Tajuk/Title  	: 	SPEECH TO VENEZUELAN BUSINESSMEN 




 
    It  gives  me  great pleasure to be able to address you
today.  Your nation which is so geographically distant  from
Malaysia  and  so  very  different  in terms of cultural and
socio-economic profiles, yet possesses striking similarities
to my own country, Malaysia.  Therefore I am very glad to be
here tonight.
2.   Venezuela, with a history  of  Spanish  colonial  rule,
achieved   independence   long  ago  in  the  last  century.
Malaysia has, similarly, a colonial past under  the  British
rule, but our independence has been relatively recent, since
1957.  In terms of land mass, Venezuela's 916,000 square km.
is  almost  three  times  Malaysia's  total  area of 330,000
square km.  Both Venezuela and Malaysia have very young pop-
ulations with between 60% - 70% below the age of 40.    Both
our  countries  have  respective national languages.  In our
case, Bahasa Malaysia.  But, just as English  is  your  lan-
guage  of commerce and industry, English is also widely used
in Malaysia as the language of business.
3.   The diversities and similarities in the  socio-economic
profile  of  our countries are equally reflected in the eco-
nomic sector.  Malaysia commenced its economic history based
upon its commodiites, and today, as you are aware,  Malaysia
is  a  world  leader in the export of oil and gas.  Over the
last few years Malaysia has also launched itself into  manu-
facturing to inject greater dynamism into the economy and to
create employment for our growing population.
4.   I  understand that Venezuela has also a similar history
of resource-based growth with products such as iron, coffee,
cocoa and livestock, and, of course, oil, which has become a
strong pillar of your economy.   It  has  been  stated  that
Venezuela possesses the world's largest oil reserves outside
of the Middle East and the Soviet Union.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
5.   I  would  now like to touch on Malaysia's manufacturing
sector, the sector to spearhead Malaysia's economic  growth.
This  priority  given  to  the manufacturing sector has been
relatively a recent phenomenon in Malaysia.    In  1967,  10
years  after Malaysia's independence, the manufacturing sec-
tor contributed less than 12% to the Gross Domestic  Product
(GDP) of our nation.  The major contributing sectors at that
time were agriculture and mining.  However, by 1989 the man-
ufacturing  sector's contribution had risen to more than 25%
of the GDP compared with a 20.6% contribution by  the  agri-
cultural sector.  The manufacturing sector's contribution is
expected  to  expand even further.  Whereas our agricultural
sector too will grow in size, its relative  contribution  to
the GDP is expected to decline slightly.
6.   In  respect  of  growth rates, the manufacturing sector
generated 12% growth in 1989 as compared to the whole  econ-
omy  which  registered  a  growth  rate  of  8.5%.    It  is
conservatively expected that in 1990 the manufacturing  sec-
tor  will  register  an 11% growth rate compared to 8.3% for
the whole economy.
7.   Whereas in the past, and in fact even towards the  mid-
dle of the 1970s, the manufacturing sector's contribution to
export earnings was nominal, today, Malaysia's manufacturing
sector  has  become  the top export earner.   Last year, the
sector contributed export earnings in excess of M$36 billion
(US$13.6 billion) or 54% of total exports including  exports
of petroleum.  Manufactured exports have thus overtaken even
the  combined  exports of commodities and petroleum.  Today,
Malaysia is the world's largest exporter of electronic semi-
conductors and also of late-dipped goods such as gloves  and
catheters.   We are also the second largest exporter of room
air-conditioners.   Within  the  next  two  or  three  years
Malaysia may well become one of the world leaders in the ex-
port of TV sets and video cassette recorders.
8.   Malaysia thus sees itself poised to face the challenges
of the 1990s with an increasingly important role assigned to
the  export-oriented manufacturing sector.  Malaysia is mov-
ing into an era of high-technology not  only  in  electrical
and  electronics but also in products based upon our natural
resources.  Malaysia's engineering sector will also  experi-
ence  high  technology growth, not only in respect of preci-
sion engineering industries but also in heavy industries  as
exemplified  by the success of the Malaysian car -- the Pro-
ton Saga.  The Proton Saga has been  well  received  in  the
markets  of Europe and is targeted to achieve 80% local con-
tent by 1992.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
9.   It has all too often been stated by the world's leading
economists and business leaders that the centre  of  gravity
of  economic  growth  during  the  next  decade will revolve
around the Pacific Basin.  Within the Pacific  Basin  itself
the  countries of the ASEAN region, namely Brunei, Malaysia,
the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand  are  al-
ready  demostrating growth  performances far exceeding those
of other areas in the world.    Within  this  ASEAN  region,
Malaysia  stands  as  a growth centre offering an investment
environment of stability, confidence  and  dynamism.    Many
companies  from  leading industrialised nations have identi-
fied Malaysia as a springboard to meet the challenges of the
expanding markets in the Asia-Pacific region and also  as  a
centre for exports back to America and Europe.
10.  For  long, developing countries have looked towards de-
veloped nations as the only source  and  salvation  for  our
economic  development.  However, today, while we continue to
look towards developed nations, there is great potential for
economic cooperation between the  countries  of  the  South.
Both  our countries, I am confident, have something to offer
to each other.  We can make a modest beginning and build  on
this new relationship.
11.  To those of you who wish to expand your business inter-
ests  into  the  Asia-Pacific region you may wish to examine
the potential that Malaysia offers.  Malaysia is an  attrac-
tive  base for any businessman seeking to expand into and to
take advantage of the potential that the Asia-Pacific region
offers.  The factors that contribute to  Malaysia's  invest-
ment   environment  include  political  stability,  economic
strength, a sound administration, a trainable and responsive
work    force,     high     productivity,     well-developed
infrastructures and a highly efficient banking and financing
system.    Malaysia  has  always welcomed foreign investment
ever since it achieved independence in 1957.   Malaysia  of-
fers  a  package  of tax holidays and a series of export and
other incentives.  Malaysia also offers a  quality  of  life
conducive to the foreign investor.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
12.  I am confident that this new relationship that has been
established as a result of my visit to your country will in-
crease  business  links and generate a greater flow of trade
and investments between our two countries.  Even if  you  do
not  come  to  invest in Malaysia, we most certainly welcome
you as a tourist.  1990 has been declared by Malaysia as the
"Visit Malaysia Year".  However, if you can't make  it  this
year,  let  me  assure  you  that  whatever  year  you visit
Malaysia, you will be welcomed.

 
 



 
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