Speechs in the year
Tarikh/Date	:	17/08/2003
Versi 		:	ENGLISH
Penyampai       :       PM

     Thank  you,  Mr.  President, for  your  warm  words  of
welcome. I am truly delighted to be here in this great  city
of  Damascus. I must confess that the beauty of Damascus,  a
city  with  a rich cultural and historical past,  overwhelms
me.   On  behalf of my wife and members of my delegation,  I
would  like to convey our sincere appreciation and gratitude
to you, your Government and the people of Syria for the very
warm welcome and generous hospitality accorded to us.

2.    I must also confess that I have always been fascinated
by  the history of your great nation.  Often referred to, as
the Cradle of Civilisation and the Gateway to History, Syria
is  not an alien country to Malaysians. For the Muslims, the
history  of  Syria  is written into our  text  books  as  we
studied   about   the  history  of  Islam  and   its   great
civilisation  during  the time of the  Prophet  (pbuh),  his
Sahabah  like Sayyidina Abu Bakar, Omar, Othman and  Ali  as
well  as  many  other  great  Muslim  leaders  and  warriors
including  Khalid ibn Walid, Nur al Deen and  Salahuddin  Al
Ayubbi  who  struggled to spread the  message  of  Islam  or
defended the religion against the Crusaders.

3.   One of the defining moments in Syria's history had been
the  reign of the Umayyads 661 - 750 AD, during which period
the  Islamic empire and civilisation extended from the south
of  France  and  Andalusia in Spain to the Indus  valley  in
India  in  the south, and to the west of China in the  east.
Some  of the most notable practices adopted during the  rule
of  the Umayyads were tolerance towards other faiths and the
support  and  encouragement  given  to  education  and   the
sciences.  Damascus had then transformed  into  a  prominent
centre for learning, famous the world over and home to  many
scholars and thinkers like Ibn Katheer and Imam Al Nawawi.
4.    Such  was  the  glory enjoyed by the  Muslims  in  the
historical  past. Unfortunately the same cannot be  said  of
the  Muslims of today.  In the wake of September 11  attacks
on  the  US, Islam is perceived as a religion that  promotes
acts  of  terror. The Muslims are weak and divided  and  are
being  discriminated against in the West. Islamic  countries
were invaded on the pretext of either harbouring terrorists,
or   on  mere  suspicion  of  possessing  weapons  of   mass
destruction.  Several more Islamic countries are  now  being
threatened or targeted for "regime change".

5.    It  is unfortunate that in the unipolar world that  we
live  in  today,  there exists a trend for the  law  of  the
jungle,  where  might is right, to be applied  in  resolving
international  disputes. Weak and least  developed  nations,
many  of  them  Islamic  nations, are vulnerable  and  could
become easy preys for invasion and colonisation.

6.    The events of September 11 that had triggered the  war
on terrorism was followed by the invasion of Afghanistan and
Iraq  should serve as a loud wake-up call for us Muslim.  We
can  no longer stay disunited if we do not want to fall  one
by  one.   Muslims must acquire information,  knowledge  and
technology  and  keep abreast with the developments  in  the
western   world.  Malaysia  strongly  believes   that   with
financial  wealth  and natural resources  at  our  disposal,
Muslim countries can become strong if we manage our internal
affairs well.

7.   Malaysia believes that terrorism should not be labelled
or  associated  with  one  faith  or  group  of  people.   A
universally  accepted definition of terrorism  is  vital  to
enable  the  international community to counter the  scourge
effectively.  The problem of terrorism must  be  tackled  at
source.  It is noted that Malaysia and Syria share a  common
position on the issue of terrorism.

8.    The  situation  in the Middle East  remains  of  great
concern  to  all  of  us.   At  the  root  of  this  is  the
Palestinians Israeli conflict.  Venting our anger by  simply
killing  people as is done by both sides will solve nothing.
We need to know our strength and to strategise so that every
sacrifice  will contribute towards our ultimate  success.  A
comprehensive  peace  in  the  region,  however,  cannot  be
achieved  without the participation of Syria and Lebanon  in
the peace process. Malaysia therefore supports and calls for
the  inclusion of the Golan Heights and Sheba  Farm  in  the
Road Map if a permanent peace in the region is to prevail.

9.       The  U.S.  engineered  road  map  for  solving  the
Palestinian  problem  would have  had  a  better  chance  of
success if Iraq had not been invaded.  As it is there is now
an  Iraqi insurgency in addition to the Palestinian problem.
And terrorism still threatens the world.

10.   We need a return to multilateralism to put things back
on their proper tract.

11.  I am pleased to note that Malaysia and Syria share many
similar   views  on  issues  confronting  the  international
community today and have cooperated meaningfully at  various
forums  such  as  the United Nations, Non-Aligned  Movement,
Organisation  of Islamic Conference and G-77. My  government
greatly  values the support and contribution  made  by  your
government  at  the last NAM Summit hosted  by  Malaysia  in
February.  I  am confident that Malaysia would  continue  to
receive  Syria's full support and constructive participation
at  the  forthcoming  OIC Summit to be held  in  October  in

12.   Moving to our bilateral relations, I am confident that
my  visit to Syria, a first by any Malaysian Prime Minister,
would  herald  a  new chapter in relations between  our  two
brotherly  countries. Since the establishment of  diplomatic
ties  in 1958, bilateral relations have been close and warm.
Relations  have  improved significantly over  the  past  few
years.  We  had  a  candid and fruitful  discussion  earlier
today.  Mutual efforts are being undertaken to  enhance  the
relations further beyond the traditional field of trade,  to
include   other  areas  such  as  ICT,  culture,  education,
tourism,  human resource development, youth and sports,  oil
and gas.

13.    The   signings  of  MOU  on  Science  and  Technology
Cooperation  and MOU on Statistics Cooperation  between  our
two   governments  as  well  as  Partnership  Agreement   in
Manufacturing  and  Know-How Transfer between  U.C.T.  Sunan
(Malaysia)  and  the Syrian Telecommunication  Establishment
during  my  visit reaffirm our desire to enhance cooperation
both  at  the governmental and private sector level  between
our two countries.

14.   Bilateral trade between Malaysia and Syria  is  rather
small  at  67.3  million  U.S.  Dollars  in  2002.  Malaysia
exported  a total of 66.3 million U.S. Dollars to Syria  and
imported one million U.S. Dollars worth of goods from Syria.
We need to balance the trade by importing more from Syria.

15.        Currently  158  Malaysian students  are  pursuing
tertiary  religious  studies  in  Syria,  whilst  27  Syrian
students  are  in  Malaysia studying medicine,  science  and
technology,  Islamic studies and several other  disciplines.
The   Government  of  Malaysia  would  like  to  extend  its
appreciation  to  the  Government  of  Syria  for  accepting
Malaysian  students to further their studies  in  Syria.   I
would  like  to invite more Syrian students to pursue  their
tertiary education in Malaysia.

16.      Our  history  may differ and our  past  experiences
diverse  but we share a common destiny.  We both  aspire  to
develop  and  prosper  our  people.   We  follow  with  keen
interest  the economic reforms that are being undertaken  by
your  government  to improve the economic  and  social  well
being of your people.  As developing countries, Malaysia and
Syria   should  develop  strategic  alliances  and   enhance
cooperation  in areas that could benefit both our  countries
and  peoples. In this direction, Mr. President,  within  the
context  of  South-South cooperation  and  premised  on  our
policy of  `Prosper Thy Neighbour' Malaysia stands ready  to
share  with Syria, under our Technical Cooperation Programme
(MTCP),  our  facilities and experiences in  governance  and

17.  On that note, Mr. President, once again I would like to
express  my  deepest  appreciation  and  gratitude  for  the
excellent  arrangement made and for the generous hospitality
extended  to  my  wife and I and members  of  my  delegation
throughout our brief but memorable stay in Syria.

   Sumber : Pejabat Perdana Menteri