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Oleh/By		:	DATO' SERI DR. MAHATHIR BIN MOHAMAD 
Tempat/Venue 	:  
Tarikh/Date 	: 	24/09/91 
Tajuk/Title  	: 	THE PLENARY OF THE FORTY-SIXTH 
			SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS 
			GENERAL ASSEMBLY 


 
Mr President,
     Allow  me at the outset to extend my congratulations to
you upon your election as the President of  the  Forty-Sixth
Session of the United Nations General Assembly.  It gives me
great  pleasure as a close friend of Saudi Arabia to see the
world community honour your country through your election to
the high office.  With your wisdom, experience and skill,  I
am  confident  that you will discharge your responsibilities
successfully, guiding this august  assembly  to  a  fruitful
conclusion.
2.   I  would  also like to take this opportunity to express
my appreciation to your predecessor, H.E. Mr Guido de Marco,
who has carried out his task with dedication and  innovative
zeal  contributing  toward  efforts  in revitalising and re-
examining the functions of the General Assembly.
Mr President,
3.   It is with pleasure that I on behalf of  Malaysia,  ex-
tend  a very warm welcome to H.R.H. Prince Norodom Sihanouk,
President of the Supreme National Council and  Head  of  the
Cambodian  delegation  to  the General Assembly.  The United
Nations which has long  missed  the  statesmanship  and  the
ebullience  of  the Prince will, I am sure, be happy to wel-
come the Prince back to the General Assembly.   Malaysia  is
gratified to see at this General Assembly members of the Su-
preme National Council representing Cambodia, offering defi-
nite promise of a final solution to the Cambodian issue.
4.   This   is   also  an  occasion  to  join  in  extending
felicitations to the Democratic People's Republic  of  Korea
and the Republic of Korea for their historic decision to be-
come  members  of  the  United  Nations as separate nations.
That decision will serve to defuse some of  the  tension  in
North East Asia and hopefully lead to normalisation in their
relations.   As a friend of both, Malaysia welcomes such de-
velopments.  May I also welcome as members of the United Na-
tions the Republic of Estonia, the Republic  of  Latvia  and
the  Republic of Lithuania, having deservedly regained their
sovereignty. I would also like to add  my  felicitations  to
the  Federated  States of Micronesia and the Republic of the
Marshall Islands, Malaysia's Pacific  neighbours,  who  have
become  members  of  the United Nations.  Malaysia extends a
hand of friendship and stands ready to cooperate with them.
Mr President,
5.   The world has witnessed in the last two years more rev-
olutionary changes than in  the  preceeding  hundred  years.
Without doubt these changes have opened new and historic op-
portunities  to build a better world, anchored firmly in the
rule of law, the sovereignty of  nations  and  a  collective
commitment  to  social  and  economic justice for all.   The
world is ripe for 'A New World Order' but it is  hoped  that
this  New  World  Order will not be one that is imposed upon
the world by the main beneficiary of the current revolution.
All members of this august body called  the  United  Nations
should  participate in the shaping of the New World Order if
we are to avoid a return of a new colonial era.
6.   When the United Nations was  formed  after  the  Second
World  War, the allied victors assumed the right to create a
world order in which each of the  five  major  powers  could
veto  anything  that does not serve them.  But then the five
fell out and the East-West conflict divided the  world  into
two antagonistic camps.  The Cold War that followed not only
retarded  modern  civilisation  but converted poor countries
into pawns and proxies, devastating  their  territories  and
economies  with confrontations and wars.  That they were not
fighting their own battles is clear  from  the  outbreak  of
peace in every continent as soon as the East-West confronta-
tion ended.
7.   With these experiences still fresh in our minds how can
we  be  assured that a New World Order formulated by any one
country or group of countries will be good for everyone?  We
are already feeling heavy hands forcing us to  do  this  and
not  that.    In  East Asia we are told that we may not call
ourselves East Asians as Europeans call themselves Europeans
and Americans call themselves Americans.  We are  told  that
we  must  call  ourselves Pacific people and align ourselves
with people who are only partly Pacific, but more  American,
Atlantic  and European.  We may not have an identity that is
not permitted, nor may we work together on the basis of that
identity.  Is this a foretaste of the New World  Order  that
we must submit to?
8.   Democracy, and only democracy is legitimate and permis-
sible  now.  No one really disputes this.  In fact, speaking
for Malaysia, we can think of no alternative  but  democracy
in  the context of our pluralistic society.  We can also af-
firm that we have no intention of siding with despots or ty-
rants and those that  deny  their  people  their  rights  to
democratic government.  But is there only one form of democ-
racy or only one high-priest to interpret it?
9.   We  see  differences  in the practice of democracy even
among those who are preaching democracy to us.  Can only the
preachers have the  right  to  interpret  democracy  and  to
practise  it as they deem fit and to force their interpreta-
tions on others?  Cannot the converts too interpret the  de-
tails,  if  not the basics?  If democracy means the right to
carry guns, to flaunt homosexuality, to disregard the insti-
tution of marriage, to disrupt and damage the well-being  of
the community in the name of individual rights, to destroy a
particular  faith, to have privileged institutions which are
sacrosanct even if they indulge  in  lies  and  instigations
which  undermine  society, the economy and international re-
lations; to permit foreigners to  break  national  laws;  if
these are the essential details, cannot the new converts opt
to  reject  them?   We, the converts, will accept the basics
but what is the meaning of democracy if we have no right  of
choice at all, or if democracy means our people are consist-
ently  subjected to instability and disruptions and economic
weaknesses which make us subject to manipulation by the pow-
erful democracies of the world?  Hegemony by democratic pow-
ers is no less  oppressive  than  hegemony  by  totalitarian
states.
10.  Democracy  means majority rule.  The minority must have
their rights but do  these  rights  include  denial  of  the
rights of the majority?  Admittedly the majority may not op-
press the minority but if the minority exercise their rights
without  responsibility, become the agents of foreign democ-
racies, and try to weaken their own country so as to make it
a client state to certain democratic powers, must the major-
ity in the name of democracy submit to the minority?
11.  If democracy is to be the  only  acceptable  system  of
Government  within states, shouldn't there be also democracy
between the states of the world? In the UN we are equal, but
five are more equal than the rest of the 166.   Seven  coun-
tries  on their own lay down the laws which affect adversely
the economies of others.  A few nations on  their  own  have
taken  it  upon themselves to determine the New World Order.
Powerful trade blocs demand voluntary restraints and  impose
laws  and  rules extra-territorially.  Clearly the states of
the world are not equal; not in the UN, not  anywhere.    If
democracy  is  such  an equitable concept why must we accept
inequality between nations?
12.  All these point towards an  unhealthy  and  an  undemo-
cratic  relations between nations.  Yet equality and freedom
is supposed to be the sole guiding principle of this  modern
civilisation.
13.  When the UN was formed in 1945 the victors of World War
II  arrogated  to  themselves the right to dictate the roles
and the distribution of power between nations.  Many  things
have happened since then.  The victors of 1945 are no longer
the  powerful  major players in world affairs.  New powerful
nations have emerged while some major  powers  have  changed
structurally.  And new ideas about rights and wrongs and de-
mocracy have crystallised.  Are we going to be shackled for-
ever to the results of World War II?
14.  If  international democracy as represented by the UN is
to be meaningful and effective, there must be an infusion of
some of the current ideas and realities.   The  world  needs
policing, as the Gulf War demonstrated to us.  But are we to
have  self-appointed  policemen  or  are we to have a police
force that is beholden to this august body, the UN?
15.  Police action by the UN needs to be governed by princi-
ples, and rules.  Laying seige and starving out a castle  or
a  city  until the people had to eat rats or starve may seem
appropriate and acceptable in the olden days.   But can  our
conscience  remain  clear  if a whole nation is starved into
submission?  Can our conscience be clear  if  the  principal
victims  are  the old and the infirmed, the pregnant mothers
and the newborns, the young and the innocent?
16.  With the advent  of  modern  weapons,  should  wars  be
fought or police action taken by destroying the recalcitrant
nation totally in order to avoid casualties among our police
force, and above all to avoid the demoralising coffins being
brought  home?  Is it truly possible that everything that is
hit by massive bombs and rockets is military in character?
17.  Is the Geneva Convention still relevant in the  conduct
of  war?  We condemn chemical warfare but must we still have
the nuclear weapons around?  Are the people who possess them
responsible and concerned about  the  horrendous  effect  of
these  weapons  and will not use them other than as a deter-
rent?  Who determines when a deterrent is needed?
18.  The leaders of nuclear nations,  the  people  who  will
push  the  nuclear  buttons,  are  not safe as events in the
Soviet Union amply demonstrated.   We cannot  even  be  sure
that  someone  irrational might not become a leader and gain
access to the button.  Accordingly, the existence of all nu-
clear weapons cannot be justified in the present world.
19.  The UN which is playing the role of inspectors in  Iraq
should  extend that role to supervise the destruction of all
nuclear weapons everywhere.  More, it should  supervise  the
invention and production of other diabolical weapons.  Weap-
ons for defence should be solely for defence and their capa-
bilities  must be such as to prevent them from being used as
weapons of aggression except in a limited way.    Researches
in  new  weapons  by  all  nations  should be reduced and no
weapon should be sold by anyone without  permits  issued  by
the  UN.  Malaysia has joined efforts with other delegations
at this General Asembly to work towards a U.N.  Arms  Regis-
ter  to  provide transparency and confidence as a first step
towards giving the United Nations a comprehensive  authority
over disarmament.
20.   We need weapons only for fighting criminals.  If a na-
tion is subjected to armed uprising then the UN should  take
part in putting it down.  Democratic Governments should only
be  brought  down by democratic process.  Anything that goes
beyond democratic processes should merit UN intervention  if
a  request  is  made.    We cannot preside over the disinte-
gration of nations into ethnic communities, particularly  if
military  action had no role in the initial consolidation of
a nation.
21.  Perhaps it may be asked why a  tiny  developing  nation
like  Malaysia should be advising on how the world should be
managed.  We should not, except that what the world does and
what some nations or even individuals do, can affect us  and
affect us adversely.
22.  Today  individuals in some developed countries consider
it their right to tell us how to rule our country.    If  we
don't  heed  them,  then they consider it their right to de-
stroy our economy, impoverish our people and even  overthrow
our  Governments.    These people latch on to various causes
such as human rights and the environment in order  to  reim-
pose  colonial  rule on us.   They are helped by the western
media which also consider it their duty to tell  us  how  to
run our country.  All these combine to make independence al-
most meaningless.  Our only hope lies in the democratisation
of  the  UN, especially as the option to defect to the other
side is no longer available to us.  We want to remain  inde-
pendent  but  we also want to conform to international norms
as determined not by some NGOs or the so-called advanced de-
mocracies, but by all the nations of the world.   If we  de-
fault  then  it  is  the  UN  and not some Robin Hoods which
should chastise us.
Mr President,
23.  We are glad that the winds of change have brought about
significant developments in South Africa which we hope would
bring about the dismantling of apartheid and  the  start  of
negotiations  towards  a new democratic and non-racial South
Africa.   All these would not  have  been  possible  without
international  solidarity,  with  the  United Nations system
playing a key role in  putting  the  necessary  pressure  on
Pretoria.    Despite  these important developments, interna-
tional solidarity, as manifested in the 1989 United  Nations
Consensus  Declaration, must be maintained to meet the still
difficult challenges ahead and ensure a  successful  conclu-
sion  to  the  process of change in South Africa.  Right now
priority must be given to putting  an  end  to  violence  in
black  townships,  reviving the preparatory process for con-
stitutional negotiations involving the Pretoria regime,  the
ANC,  Inkatha  and others as well as addressing the problems
of social and economic inequities brought about  by  decades
of apartheid.
24.  While  the climate of peace and dialogue has benefitted
many parts of the world, the Middle East  remains  the  most
volatile  region and the Palestinian people continue to suf-
fer under the cruel and illegal  Israeli  occupation.    The
current  United States peace initiative has raised the hopes
of many nations, including Malaysia,  for  an  active  peace
process  that  would lead to a comprehensive solution of the
Arab-Israeli conflict, including the establishment of an in-
dependent state for the Palestinians.  We welcome the initi-
ative and commitment of President Bush and  Secretary  Baker
in undertaking this difficult task and wish them well.
25.  The  plight of the Palestinian people touches the heart
of every Malaysian.  We would like the Palestinian people to
be treated fairly and justly.  If what they  do  to  protect
themselves  is  considered criminal then the same deeds com-
mitted by the Israelis should be considered  equally  crimi-
nal.    Governments  which  kidnap and kill people should be
condemned even more than desperate freedom fighters who  are
forced to violence because they can seek justice in no other
way.  The accelerated build-up of illegal Jewish settlements
in  the occupied territories is an act of unwarranted provo-
cation by the Israeli authorities and constitutes a very se-
rious  and  unacceptable  obstacle  to  the  current   peace
efforts.    In  our view Jews in the Soviet Union are better
off there, where their entrepreneurial skills could  be  put
to good use to re-build the economy of the country.
Mr President,
26.  Next year the nations of the world are expected to meet
in  Rio de Janeiro to discuss the environment.  If we are to
meet there, there is a need to know whether it is  going  to
be  a  constructive meeting or a finger-pointing third world
bashing session.
27.  If that conference is going to be productive  then  let
us  face the facts and deal with them.  Unless we accept the
truth regarding the sources and the causes of  environmental
pollution,  rising  temperatures  and ozone depletion we are
not going to get anywhere in  our  efforts  to  reverse  the
process.    If  we go to Rio, let us go there to discuss and
agree on a common course of action on environment and devel-
opment.
28.  The idea that the tropical forests can be saved only by
boycotting tropical timber  smacks  more  of  economic  arm-
twisting  than a real desire to save the forests.  If selec-
tive logging and sustainable  management  is  prevented  and
consequently  the  forests  become  no  longer  a  source of
wealth, the worthless forests may be  cleared  in  order  to
produce  food crops, or to provide firewood in poor develop-
ing nations.
29.  On   the   other   hand,   the   vast   potential   for
reafforestation  has  hardly  been touched.   The deserts of
California can be converted into a tropical forest  complete
with  rain-forest  flora  and  fauna  simply  by pumping the
ground water and planting trees.   Instead, the  underground
water is being used for golf courses and artificial lakes to
surround  luxury  hotels.    If  we  can build sophisticated
warplanes at one billion dollars apiece,  surely  we  should
have  the ingenuity and the money to create tropical forests
out of deserts?  Libya should be congratulated  for  tapping
underground  water  to irrigate its desert.   It is shameful
that nations richer and more advanced than Libya  have  done
nothing significant to green the world.
30.  The use of CFC and fossil fuel is greatest in the rich-
est  countries.  Is there really a need for CFC for spraying
when a simple rubber bulb can do the same?  Do the countries
with huge populations of monster automobiles really need  to
use  them  when  there can be small cars or efficient public
transport systems using electricity generated by hydro-power
plants?
31.  We in the poor countries would like to have some  cheap
hydro-electric power.  True we have to sacrifice a few thou-
sand  acres  of our forests.  But we can spare these, for we
have millions of acres more.   But all manner  of  campaigns
are   mounted   against  our  proposals  for  hydro-electric
projects.  Now of course the World Bank will be used to  de-
prive poor countries of cheap hydro-electric power.  And all
these  after the rich have developed most of their hydro po-
tentials.  Can we be blamed if we think this is  a  ploy  to
keep us poor?
32.  If the UNCED is to be meaningful let us hear now of the
plans of the rich for reducing their own contribution to the
environmental  degradation.  If the sole approach is to link
aid to poor countries with what they must do environmentally
for the well-being of the rich, then UNCED would be  a  lost
opportunity.
Mr President,
33.  Economic  growth in a poor country cannot depend on the
domestic market.  To grow poor countries  must  have  either
aid or free access to foreign markets.  It would be near su-
icidal  for  poor  countries  to  keep their market to them-
selves.  On the other hand there is  every  reason  for  the
rich to keep their markets for themselves.
34.  GATT  is  conceived to promote free and equitable world
trade.  But how can poor individual  countries  argue  their
cases   in  the  GATT  Rounds  when  the  huge  trade  blocs
monopolise the meetings?  Who would listen to the  plaintive
arguments of a tiny insignificant third world country?
35.  To  be  heard  the  poor must band together not to form
impoverished trade blocs but to lend weight to  their  argu-
ments.  And so the East Asia Economic Group or EAEG was pro-
posed,  not  as a trade bloc, but as a forum for the nations
of East Asia to confer with each other  in  order  to  reach
agreement  on  a common stand for a common problem caused by
the restrictive trade practices of the rich.
36.  We are perplexed to find that this objective merely  to
have  a  voice  in  international  affairs  is being opposed
openly and covertly by the very country  which  preach  free
trade.  It is even more surprising that there should be such
opposition  when NAFTA itself is being formed on the princi-
ple of the right of free association  of  independent  coun-
tries.  Can it be that what is right and proper for the rich
and  the  powerful is not right or proper for the poor?  One
is tempted to suspect racist bias behind this stand.
Mr President,
37.  Malaysia has supported the UN at every turn.    We  be-
lieve that the UN is the only legitimate instrument for cre-
ating  an  equitable  world, for protecting the weak and the
poor from the pressures of the strong.  We welcome  the  end
of  the Cold War but we must admit to feeling more naked and
vulnerable now.  There is nowhere else to look except to the
UN.  More than ever before, we need a greater role  for  the
UN in the affairs of the world.
38.  While  we believe a restructured Security Council has a
vital role to play, we would like to see a balanced  consti-
tutional  relationship, including accountability between the
General Assembly, the Security Council and  the  Secretariat
in  order  to  truly make the United Nations the guardian of
peace as suggested in the Secretary-General's  report  of  6
September  1991.   Related to this, the Malaysian delegation
has joined efforts with others to  deliberate  on  ways  and
means  to  revitalise  the organs of the United Nations, in-
cluding the General Assembly and ECOSSOC.  The experience of
the Gulf conflict also makes it imperative  for  the  United
Nations to explore and put into effect all the potentials of
preventive  diplomacy,  including  a more pro-active role on
the part of  the  Secretary-General  and  an  expanded  U.N.
peacekeeping  operations.    Malaysia believes that the time
has come for the international community to explore also the
potentials of the International Court of Justice, the  judi-
cial  organ  of  the United Nations, as a means of fostering
the resolution of conflict by peaceful means and in  accord-
ance with the rule of law.
Mr President,
39.  The  international  community  is now at the proverbial
crossroads.  We truly have a chance to build a better  world
through consensus and to use the United Nations as the prin-
cipal  forum  and  vehicle for achieving our objectives.  We
cannot afford to miss this historic opportunity  to  benefit
from  the peace dividend resulting from the cessation of the
Cold War.  It must, however, be  underlined  that  a  global
consensus  approach  requires  tolerance for different ideas
and practices inherent in our complex and pluralistic world.
There is simply no place for an international order based on
hegemony and domination.  Let us then work together as part-
ners in our common endeavour to build a better world.

 



 
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