Speechs in the year
Tarikh/Date 	: 	26/07/91 

    I  am  pleased  to  be  here this evening to officially
launch what is the first international calibre photo book on
Malaysia, that is "Malaysia: Heart of Southeast Asia".
2.   The  successful   completion   of   this   photo   book
demostrates  the  contribution of  the private sector in ef-
forts to promote the growth of Malaysia's tourism  industry.
The  launching  of  this  book is also timely as Malaysia is
currently at the start of the  Sixth  Malaysia  Plan,  which
recognises  the  importance  of  tourism and its role in the
growth of the national economy.
3.   Malaysia is a very fortunate country as  it  is  gener-
ously  endowed  not only with rich resources but also with a
very unique and varied   flora and fauna.   These  in  them-
selves  are  strong  factors   for the healthy growth of the
tourist industry.  However, there are still many more  other
attractions which remain to be discovered.  In this context,
although  tourism  in Malaysia has had a late start compared
with some of her neighbours, I think in many areas  Malaysia
still has her competitive edge.  It is, therefore, incumbent
upon  us  to determine the manner in which this resource can
be exploited.
4.   Many visitors are discovering that Malaysia has  a  lot
to offer - from the bustling city life to the tranquility of
the  palm-fringed  beaches, and to some of the most spectac-
ular sights of nature.  And tourism being a relatively young
industry; we can learn from the lessons of  other  countries
how  best to marry these assets to provide the tourists with
the holiday of their choice.
5.   In recent years, tourism has also proven to be a resil-
ient industry the world over.   It is fast  becoming  a  key
economic priority and its contribution as a foreign exchange
earner for both the government and the private sector is ev-
ident  in  the improvement in Malaysia's services account of
the balance of payments.  Gross receipts from  tourism  grew
by  24.5  per  cent per annum during the Fifth Malaysia Plan
period.  Without doubt, the country has benefitted from  the
concerted  efforts  to  put  Malaysia  on  the international
tourism map.   The highly  successful  Visit  Malaysia  Year
1990, and the accolades it received is the best illustration
of the public-private sector teamwork.
6.   As  we are all aware, the private sector also has a vi-
tal role to play in promoting the tourism industry, be it in
the hospitality arena, in the provision of tour  and  travel
packages,  or facilities and amenities for the visitors.  It
is, therefore, crucial that programmes  and  activities  de-
signed  for  the tourism industry should complement and sup-
plement the tourism  promotion  efforts  undertaken  by  the
7.   However,  there  is still much ground to be covered and
the Government's efforts in this area is a continuing  proc-
ess.  Under the Sixth Malaysia Plan, the major thrust of the
policy on tourism is the efficient development of the sector
while  at the same time enhancing the quality of life of the
local people.  The policy underscores the need  to  increase
the  participation of the local people while maximising eco-
nomic opportunities from tourism.
8.   One area  in  which  Malaysia  has  fallen  behind  her
neighbours  is  in  the overseas market for tourism publica-
tions on the country.  Books are an  effective  vehicle  for
promoting  a destination and while there are now quite a few
books on Malaysia - and I congratulate those who have  taken
the  initiative to produce these publications - they are not
sufficient and are seldom designed to promote  the  country.
Indeed some books give an unfair picture of Malaysia.
9.   I  am, therefore, encouraged that the publishers, spon-
sors and project team have had the  foresight  to  recognise
the  need for a book which would appeal to the international
10.  "Malaysia: Heart of Southeast Asia" is a  book  with  a
difference.    No  other book can boast the works of some of
the world's best photographers and a text written  by  well-
known authors.
11.  The  images  captured in this  high quality publication
create an instantaneous encounter with  Malaysia's  unparal-
leled  natural  wonders, its colourful mix of traditions and
way of life.  Its potent and memorable impact will serve  as
a  magnet  to draw visitors the world over to Malaysia.  For
Malaysians, this book will provide a  graphic  insight  into
their country's proud heritage and spectacular hidden treas-
12.  It  has  come  to  my  knowledge  that  several  of the
photographers, having had a taste of Malaysia while  working
on  this  book, have expressed keen interest to return to do
more,  particularly on Malaysian wildlife and nature.  I  am
pleased  at  the prospect as this will lead to greater expo-
sure of our natural and unique attractions to the world.
13.  For all these reasons, I am confident  that  "Malaysia:
Heart  of Southeast Asia" will not only be a success in pro-
moting and encouraging more visitors to travel to  Malaysia,
but  will  also  help  stimulate  further the interest among
Malaysians to undertake domestic  excursions  to  experience
for themselves the beauty of their country.
14.  I  would  like to congratulate the publishers, sponsors
and project team on the successful completion of  "Malaysia:
Heart  of  Southeast Asia".  Their initiative and confidence
in the project is a heartening example for all to emulate.
15.  I know I am speaking for all parties when  I  wish  the
publishers  every  success  in  the  promotions and sales of
"Malaysia: Heart of Southeast Asia", both locally and  over-
16.  On  this  note,  I am pleased to officially launch this
exciting publication, "Malaysia: Heart of Southeast Asia."