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Oleh/By		:	DATO' SERI DR. MAHATHIR BIN MOHAMAD 
Tempat/Venue 	: 	CARACAS, VENEZUELA 
Tarikh/Date 	: 	03/08/90 
Tajuk/Title  	: 	THE FORMAL ISSUE OF THE FINAL 
			REPORT OF THE SOUTH COMMISSION 




 His Excellency President Carlos Andres Perez;
His Excellency Mwalimu Julius Nyerere;
Excellencies;
Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
    I  am  indeed  honoured to be given this opportunity to
say a few words on this auspicious occasion.  It is also  an
occasion that we of the South can be proud of for after much
painstaking  efforts  we  have been able to produce a report
which will set the tone for  enhancing  greater  South-South
cooperation.
2.   In  a  sense,  we  are  here today at the end of a long
journey.  All journeys begin with first steps.    The  first
step began in Kuala Lumpur in May 1986 when leaders, academ-
ics  and scholars of the South met at a conference organised
by the Third World Foundation and the Malaysian Institute of
Strategic and  International  Studies.    The  Kuala  Lumpur
Statement  that it adopted declared that it was "both neces-
sary and urgent for the South to reappraise its position and
chart out a path for the future.   To this end,  we  propose
the  establishment of an Independent Commission of the South
on Development Issues".
3.   Propelled by this Statement, I went  to  the  September
1986  Harare  Summit  of the Non-aligned.  Immediately after
the official opening, I flew to Dar-es-Salam to invite Pres-
ident Julius Nyerere to be the Commission's Chairman.    The
Commission and its Chairman were announced on the fourth day
of  the  eighth Meeting of the Heads of State and Government
of the Non-Aligned.  On a day when the applause was thin,  I
remember  most  vividly the enthusiastic response that arose
spontaneously from the floor.
4.   Between that day and today, there  has  obviously  been
much quiet effort and great intellectual diligence; and dare
I  say, ferment.   It most certainly is appropriate that the
journey that began in Kuala Lumpur four years ago should end
today in Caracas.  For in May 1986 when the scholars of  the
South  debated the idea of a South Commission, they were in-
spired by many proposals  of  a  similar  nature,  aimed  at
achieving the same end.
Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,
5.   The completion of the Report of the South Commission is
of  course a major milestone in the endeavours of the South.
But milestones merely mark the major points in a journey and
do not signify its end.  This milestone is certainly no  ex-
ception.
6.   There  have  been  many such reports and commissions in
the past.  We should take a measure of  pride  in  the  fact
that  for the first time this Report of the South is a genu-
ine effort of the South, by the South, for the South.  It is
also written by the South, and funded by the South.  I would
like to congratulate its Chairman.  I would like to congrat-
ulate its Commissioners.  I would like to  congratulate  its
Secretariat.
7.   To  be sure, it will be subjected to critical scrutiny.
Indeed, it must be subjected to critical  scrutiny.    There
will  be  cynics, who will say that what we have will be an-
other academic document.  Neither the extreme right nor  the
extreme left will be satisfied.
8.   But  its  very  nature, a consensual report -- which is
what the South Commission Report has to be -- cannot satisfy
any extremist position or comfortably fit the needs  of  the
entire range of countries of the South.  Few recommendations
can be equally relevant to all countries of the South.
9.   Speaking  for  myself,  let me say that I fully endorse
the central message of the Report that the South  must  move
itself, and must find its own way in the world.  There is no
denying  the moral case for assistance.  But we in the South
cannot afford to forget that the most important helping hand
that we all need is at the end of our own right arm.  It  is
an  iron  law  of  history that no-one can do anything to us
worse than what we can do to ourselves.  No one can do  any-
thing  for us that is as valuable as what we can do for our-
selves.  This must be the central message  of  self-reliance
at the national level and at the international level.
10.  I  also  fully endorse the central philosophy expounded
in the context of South-North relations.  We must start from
the secure foundations of realism.  There is very little  to
be gained in 'taking on the North'.  Those of us who believe
in  South-South cooperation are not conspirators against the
North.  We are believers in concerting our strength, in tak-
ing advantage of the potentials for cooperation between  us,
in  seeking dialogue with the North and a say in the affairs
of a world that is ours as much as anyone else's.
Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,
11.  The time for rhetoric is long gone.   It would  be  the
most severe indictment if the Report of the South Commission
does  become  an  academic  treatise,  one  that will merely
gather dust on the bookshelf.
12.  I have every confidence that this Report of  the  South
Commission  will  not  be shelved and forgotten.  For unlike
its admirable predecessors, steps have been taken  to  guard
against  this eventuality.  At the very least, the Report of
the South Commission will  move  from  here  to  the  active
agenda  of  the  G-15,  made  up  of  not  only Malaysia and
Venezuela but of 13  other  states  committed  to  advancing
South-South  cooperation.    Already,  some of the recommen-
dations of the Commission have been turned to reality,  even
before they were put into print.
13.  The  Commission  recommends 'the participation of heads
of state or government in regular institutionalised  consul-
tations'.    Already  the Summit Level Group for South-South
Consultations and Cooperation -- the  G-15  --  has  met  in
Kuala  Lumpur.  It will be holding its second formal meeting
in Caracas next year.
14.  The Commission argues that 'the proposal  to  establish
the South Secretariat requires immediate action'.  Already a
Steering  Group  of  three  foreign ministers (from Senegal,
Venezuela and Malaysia) has been established and a 'group of
professionals' will become a reality.
15.  The Commission proposes that 'in the area of  financial
co-operation,  priority  attention  should  be  given to the
strengthening of regional and sub-regional clearing and pay-
ments arrangements as well as export credit facilities'.   I
am  glad  to  report that Malaysia together with other coun-
tries have agreed to set up financial mechanisms to  enhance
trade among the countries of the South.  Today, I am pleased
to inform you that Venezuela and Malaysia have agreed to en-
ter  into a bilateral payments arrangement.  Plans are afoot
to expeditiously do the same with Argentina, Brazil,  Chile,
Mexico  and  Peru  in  South  America.    With regard to the
African continent, steps have already been  taken  to  enter
into bilateral payments arrangements with Algeria, Botswana,
Egypt,  Morocco,  Mozambique,  Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
In Asia, we have already acted to quickly extend the concept
-- already in place  with  Iran  --  to  Iraq,  Myanmar  and
Pakistan.
16.  In  the  Association of South East Asia or ASEAN, forms
of payments arrangements already exist.   The South  Commis-
sion  recommends that they also be brought into being across
continents.  I am happy to inform that Malaysia will be con-
vening a meeting of central bankers in November  to  try  to
operationalise this concept.
17.  Also  very  much in line with the thinking of the South
Commission, Malaysia has worked out the parameters  and  the
terms  of  reference for a South Investment, Trade and Tech-
nology Data Exchange.   And God willing,  in  November  this
year we will convene an Expert Group meeting on this.
18.  The South Commission recommends that 'cooperation among
business  enterprises of the South should be promoted at the
bilateral, sub-regional, regional  and  inter-regional  lev-
els'.    I  am  glad to report that Yugoslavia has agreed to
convene the Business and Investment Forum for the South.
19.  The South Commission has strongly argued  that  in  the
field  of  human  resources development, 'priority should be
given to the  identification  and  development  of  selected
Centres  of Educational Excellence' and the establishment of
South Fellowships to facilitate the  movement  of  students,
teachers and others in the field of education.  Malaysia has
already  entered  into  concrete negotiations with regard to
the former and will extend and expand  the  fellowships  and
scholarships  that  are already being afforded to developing
countries.
20.  The  South  Commission  recommends  that  each  country
should set up a national committee to advise the government,
to mobilise public opinion in support of South-South cooper-
ation,  and  to promote people-to-people contacts.  Malaysia
will build on the existing mechanism that already exists and
will entrust to this national committee the task of studying
and developing the recommendations of the  South  Commission
and  other  proposals for South-South cooperation from other
quarters.
21.  We may find that in many areas, only parts of the South
can participate and act together.  It is my view that  where
this  is  so, we should proceed, while encouraging others to
join in when and where they can.
Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,
22.  The South Commission, titles its Report 'The  Challenge
to the South'.  'Challenge' is the appropriate keynote.
23.  The   Great   East-West  conflict  is  over.    It  was
characterised by the division of much of  the  world  by  an
iron  curtain of animosity, hatred and prejudice.  There are
those today who fear that in place of  the  Great  East-West
Conflict of teutonic proportions will be a Great North-South
Conflict  of equally heroic character.  I do not hold such a
view.  Conflicts become great and are  enduring  only  where
strength  meets strength and power confronts power.  This is
not the South-North reality.
24.  The concern is that, there is  a  greater  danger,  the
danger  of  many  of the countries of the South simply being
forgotten, out of sight, out of mind, standing  sullenly  by
the wayside, in the dark shadow of poverty and backwardness,
as the speeding train of history and of progress whizzes by.
25.  There  is  the danger that in the place of an iron cur-
tain of animosity, hatred and prejudice  dividing  East  and
West,  there will be an equally opaque mental curtain of ig-
norance, contempt and complete disinterest in as far as  the
North  is concerned.  Now, more than ever, there is the need
for the South to be seen, to be heard, to be understood  and
to be able to move forward.
26.  It is my fervent hope that what we do today and what we
will  together  do  in the years to come among ourselves and
with the North, will ensure that the  impoverished  will  be
heard  and  that as much of the Third World as possible will
be part of the mainstream of development.  If this is a  cry
in  the wilderness, a forlorn aspiration, let us remind our-
selves that so too was the hope of the scholars of the South
who met in Kuala Lumpur four years ago.  But that  hope  has
become  a  reality  and  we  now  have  the results of their
labours.
Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, I thank you.

 
 



 
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