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Oleh/By		:	DATO' SERI DR. MAHATHIR BIN MOHAMAD 
Tempat/Venue 	:	 SRI PERDANA, KUALA LUMPUR (K.L) 
Tarikh/Date 	: 	11/01/91 
Tajuk/Title  	: 	DINNER IN HONOUR OF HIS EXCELLENCY 
			MR GOH CHOK TONG, PRIME MINISTER OF 
			THE REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE 



 
    It is with great pleasure that my wife and I, on behalf
of  the  government and people of Malaysia, welcome you, Mr.
Prime Minister and Mrs. Goh, and the members of your  deleg-
ation  to Malaysia.  Your visit this time is of considerable
significance, being your first official visit to Malaysia as
Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore.    As  a  close
neighbour, we in Malaysia have followed with admiration your
illustrious  political career and your considerable achieve-
ments as one of Singapore's young leaders.
Mr. Prime Minister,
2.   Your appointment as the Prime Minister of the  Republic
of  Singapore  to  succeed Mr. Lee Kuan Yew marks the culmi-
nation of a remarkable process of transition of  Singapore's
leadership  to another generation of leaders.  The fact that
it was achieved so smoothly, with scarcely a ripple  in  ei-
ther the political arena or in the economy, testifies to the
wisdom and foresight of your predecessor.  More importantly,
it is a measure of the high premium that Singapore places on
political  stability, and of the confidence that you command
among your colleagues and among Singaporeans.
3.   It is no accident that Singapore now is one of the  ma-
jor  Asian  economies poised to develop into a leading world
economic, business  and  financial  centre.    Its  economic
strength  is evident from the fact that in spite of the Gulf
Crisis and the imminent  recession  in  the  United  States,
Singapore  is  still  expected  to  achieve an 8.5% economic
growth rate this year.  We wish you every  success  in  your
quest  for a more prosperous and vibrant Singapore, and of a
society dedicated to high standards in every aspect of life.
4.   Malaysia holds the view that  its  relations  with  its
closest neighbours are of utmost importance.  Intertwined as
we are in both our history as well as our geographical prox-
imity,  Malaysia  will always give close and constant atten-
tion to the development of good relations  between  our  two
countries.  The media has often been guilty of an inordinate
amount  of  speculation on our bilateral relations, but this
is only to be expected given the  fact  that  Singapore  and
Malaysia were once one nation which separated because we had
differences.    It is natural to expect those differences to
continue to haunt our relations.
5.   But good and close bilateral relations can still be wo-
ven if we truly care for  our  countries  and  our  peoples.
There  is  little  to be gained by a confrontative attitude.
We both have had sufficient  experience  to  understand  the
waste  resulting  from  prolonged and unreasoning confronta-
tion.  Understanding this, we must be pragmatic  and  design
policies on bilateral relations that can be mutually benefi-
cial.   Malaysia will always consciously endeavour to under-
stand the sensitivities and interests of  Singapore  and  we
are  sure  you  would  do the same.   In a situation such as
ours, where the scope of bilateral relations  cover  a  wide
range of issues, including those where our interests may not
coincide,  it  becomes  even  more  imperative  that we con-
sciously set out to work together.  And in order that we can
work together, it  is  necessary  that  we  understand  each
other,  avoid  unwarranted  suspicions,  and establish close
rapport.
6.   Here I would like to state that I believe that  rapport
lies not just in a shared past, nor just in personal chemis-
try,  but  rather  in a common perception of what is best in
the mutual interest of our two countries.  I believe we can-
not go wrong if we adhere to this tenet.   In this  context,
may  I  say  that  having  had the occasion to meet you, Mr.
Prime Minister, and to exchange points of view with you when
you were Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister as well as today,
I know that we share the same ideals  and  aspirations,  not
only  for  our peoples and our nations, but also for the re-
gion as a whole.  I look forward with  pleasure  to  working
with you in the closest possible manner on matters of mutual
importance to our two countries.
7.   Looking  at the achievements we have made so far, I re-
main confident that we can forge a common destiny that  will
benefit our two nations if we continue to cooperate closely.
The  list of matters on which we have been able to agree and
work together in the recent past alone is impressive.   They
include  the  signing of a new water agreement, a gas agree-
ment, progress on the proposed second linkage, the expansion
of the causeway project, establishment of  direct  relations
with  various states of Malaysia for investment, tourism and
other links, and Your Excellency's  own  initiative  on  the
growth  triangle  between  Singapore, Johor and the Riau Is-
lands.
Mr. Prime Minister,
8.   Both Malaysia and Singapore remain  strongly  committed
to  ASEAN,  and  have  devoted  a  great  deal  of effort to
strengthening the organisation.  While ASEAN's  achievements
in  the  political  arena  have gained for us a considerable
reputation as a strong regional organisation, the effort  to
promote  economic  cooperation  among  its members have been
equally important.  In a period when our wider interests and
well-being are being threatened by  political  and  economic
uncertainties,  it is crucial that we find new ways to break
down barriers to achieve even  closer  economic  cooperation
among ASEAN member countries.
9.   We  are  witnessing  the very real threat of tumultuous
times in the world today.  The peace dividend that came with
the ending of the Cold War appears to have dissipated,  with
the  Gulf  Crisis  threatening to worsen.  In these times of
uncertainty, Malaysia reiterates its stand against the inva-
sion of small nations by stronger neighbours.  We have aptly
demonstrated our commitment to this stand by our actions  in
the UN Security Council on the Gulf Crisis.
10.  While  we witness an unprecedented unity among the com-
munity of nations in the political  arena,  unfortunately  a
reverse trend threatens to develop in the multilateral trad-
ing  system,  with the establishment of economic blocs.  The
European Community is moving towards the creation of a  sin-
gle  market, while the United States has signed a Free Trade
Agreement with Canada which could  be  expanded  to  include
Mexico  and the Latin American countries.  These are trading
blocs whether they are so called or not.  These developments
bodes ill for the efforts to conclude the Uruguay Round, and
economies outside these two major  blocs  could  find  them-
selves  at  the losing end.  For this reason, I believe that
Asian countries on the Pacific Rim, which have the potential
to collectively provide a dynamic core of growth, should ex-
plore ways of strengthening our regional cooperation.   Ini-
tially  at  least  we should learn to consult each other and
speak with one voice when negotiating with the European  and
American blocs.
11.  We  should  also  look into ways and means of enhancing
trade between ourselves in order to build up our markets and
make them attractive to the European  and  American  trading
blocs.    That  way  we will be able to have more bargaining
power and be in a better position when negotiating for freer
flow of goods between all nations -- i.e.  for  free  trade.
We  are  not about to abandon multilateralism.  But in order
to save multilateralism we must stand up  to  trading  blocs
which  have already been formed and are working against free
trade.  The choice is not for us to make.   It  has  already
been  made  for  us by others.  If we do not know how or are
afraid to act because of labels which may be attached to us,
we are surely going to lose.   We really do  not  understand
why  it  is  proper  for some countries to come together and
protect themselves while others may not do so.  Malaysia and
Singapore  are  too  closely   linked   for   us   to   have
diametrically  opposed approaches to problems affecting both
of us.  I hope Singapore will maintain an open mind  on  the
Malaysian proposal for closer economic cooperation involving
the Pacific seaboard of Asia.
12.  May  I once again say how happy I am to welcome you and
Mrs. Goh to Malaysia.   Your visit will  further  strengthen
the  existing  bond  of friendship between our two countries
and intensify cooperation at all levels.
13.  May I now invite you to rise and join me in a toast  to
the  good  health  of His Excellency Prime Minister Goh Chok
Tong and Mrs. Goh and also to  the  good  relations  between
Singapore and Malaysia.

 
 



 
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