Speechs in the year
Tempat/Venue	:	LANGKAWI, KEDAH
Tarikh/Date	:	27/07/2003
Versi 		:	ENGLISH
Penyampai       :       PM   	    

       I  would  like  to  welcome  all  of  you  to  this
   Malaysia-Thailand  Technology and  Business  Partnership
   Dialogue  in  Langkawi.   It is my special privilege  to
   welcome  the  Honourable  Prime  Minister  of  Thailand,
   Police  Lt. Col. Dr. Thaksin Shinawatra.   I would  also
   like   to   congratulate   the  joint   organisers   for
   successfully planning this Dialogue.
   2.    Thailand  and  Malaysia  have  played  significant
   roles  in  the  development of modern  day  regionalism.
   This  has not been by accident but rather the historical
   evolution  of  proximity  and  neighbourliness.   Indeed
   long  before the Western propagated concept  of  nation-
   states, the Kingdom of Thailand and the Malay states  of
   the  Peninsular  had  established a  long  tradition  of
   association  and closeness.  Many princes of  the  Malay
   states were adopted by the King of Siam and educated  in
   Bangkok.   But  at  times there were  wars  between  the
   Malay  states  and  the Kingdom  of  Siam.   These  wars
   however  have not made the Malays and the Thais  eternal
   enemies   as   has  often  happened  with   many   other
   countries.   To this day people of Siamese  origin  live
   in  Malaysia as full citizens and Malays in Thailand  do
   likewise.   We war no more.  As independent  nations  we
   now  work closely together as neighbours and as  members
   of ASEAN.
   3.     But   our  bilateral  relations  is   much   more
   substantial.   Our security forces have  worked  closely
   together  to keep the border areas safe for  travel  and
   for business.
   4.    Our  countries  were doing very well  economically
   and  with the end of the Cold War we had looked  forward
   to  even  higher  growth and prosperity.   Unfortunately
   there  had been far too many attempts to change the  way
   things are done in the belief that the world would be  a
   better  and  richer  place to  live  in.   We  have  the
   borderless   world,  globalisation,  the   World   Trade
   Organisation, the free deregulated market  and  a  whole
   lot  of  new systems, which we have to accept or  suffer
   denunciation  by the controlled media of  the  west  and
   even trade sanctions.
   5.      Change,    any   change   is   disruptive    and
   destabilising.   Nothing really works  well  immediately
   after a change.  There will be bugs to get rid of.   But
   more  importantly the unscrupulous and the  crooks  will
   find  opportunities for a rip-off, for taking  advantage
   of  the  ignorant and the weak undergoing change.   That
   is  what  is happening now.  The rogue currency  traders
   destroyed the wealth of the emerging economies  of  East
   Asia,  devaluing  their currencies, raping  their  stock
   exchange,  bankrupting  and distressing  businesses  and
   banks,  throwing millions out of work,  swooping  in  to
   seize   the   weakened  corporations   and   banks   and
   eventually to control indebted nations.
   6.    Merges  and  acquisitions, friendly  and  hostile,
   have  resulted  in  the emergence of giant  corporations
   and  banks  and  filthy monopolies or oligopolies.   And
   these  huge  corporations and banks fiddled  with  their
   accounts  with  the aid of the big accounting  firms  to
   show  profits,  which do not exist.  And  the  directors
   and  managers stole the money belonging to  these  giant
   corporations  even  as they demand that  the  developing
   countries  stop their corruption and become  transparent
   to them.
   7.    Far  from  being a place to raise  capital,  stock
   markets are regarded as casinos where money, big  money,
   can  be made even from the shares of bankrupt companies,
   companies  which  have never made  profits,  which  have
   practically  no assets to back the high value  of  their
   shares.  And then the bubble would burst and the  little
   investors  would  perish while the rich manipulators  of
   the  share  market would run away with their  ill-gotten
   gains  or  get  bailed out by their  governments.   Poor
   countries and poor people get poorer and poorer,  unless
   they  sell  their bodies and their souls to  the  crooks
   who had created the bubble and helped it to burst.
   8.    Still  the demand is on that the world standardise
   all   business   practices  that  trade,  domestic   and
   international, be based on rules, rules invented by  the
   rich  to  suit them, to enrich them.  Failure to  comply
   with   the  rules  would  attract  direct  and  indirect
   punitive action calculated to undermine the economy  and
   destabilise the country.
   9.    Even strong economies have found these changes and
   unethical  activities so disruptive  and  damaging  that
   they  are unable to recover.  But still they are  forced
   to  change.  What is important is not the well being  of
   peoples  and  nations.  What are important are  the  new
   system,  free  trade, deregulation and the  adoption  of
   new  regulations etc.  The objective is  not  important.
   The prescribed means must be adopted even if it kills.
   10.   As if all these are not enough, the injustices  in
   the  treatment of certain people are allowed  to  fester
   until bitterness, anger and frustration lead to acts  of
   terror.   Instead of tackling the causes  of  terrorism,
   the   oppression  and  the  injustice,  counter   terror
   methods  were applied.  Massive retaliation as was  used
   to  deal with recalcitrant indigenous people when  their
   land  was  being  taken away, their  forests  destroyed,
   their  animal  herds decimated; massive retaliation  has
   now  returned as an instrument of policy.  With that the
   world is further destabilised.
   11.   Economic recovery has become extremely  difficult.
   It  may  be  necessary to return to our  old  and  tried
   ways,  to  the days when nations protect their economies
   behind  tax barriers.  But the scenario and the  mindset
   of  the world have changed so much that they have to  be
   taken  into  consideration in planning and  executing  a
   strategy  for recovery.  In any case the weak  economies
   are  so  vulnerable  that unless they consolidate  their
   meagre resources they will not survive and recover.
   12.   The ASEAN grouping is perhaps the most durable and
   viable  grouping of developing countries in  the  world.
   We  have not only stuck together through thick and  thin
   but  we  have  actually enlarged our group.   Today  the
   group  has a population base of 500 million.   They  are
   poor but they have the basic skills and organisation  to
   build their economies singly and together.
   13.   And  now we have the growth triangle and bilateral
   cooperation  concept.  Borders divide nations  based  on
   ethnicity  and  geographical barriers.  But  today  with
   the ease of communication both physical and information-
   wise  and  the acceptance of many universal  values  and
   practices,  the borders are not the barriers  that  they
   were   before.   Yet  borders  still  define   important
   differences  and  comparative  advantages,  which   hold
   numerous potentials and opportunities while at the  same
   time  presenting  obstacles to the full exploitation  of
   each other's resources.
   14.   The border between Thailand and Malaysia is almost
   a  classic  example.   Thailand has  very  low  cost  of
   living  while  Malaysia is slightly higher.   This  does
   not  mean that Thailand or the Thais are poorer or  that
   Malaysians  are richer.  Malaysia's experience  is  that
   cost   can  be  kept  low  without  sacrificing   living
   standards.   Thus  although  Malaysia's  per  capita  is
   equal to 4,000 US Dollars, the purchasing power of  that
   4,000  US Dollars is almost as good as 9,000 US  Dollars
   in  the  U.S.   I  am sure that although Thailand's  per
   capita  is  lower in US Dollar terms, it will  buy  much
   more  goods  and  services in  Thailand  than  the  same
   number  of  US Dollar would buy in the USA or  for  that
   matter,  Malaysia.   Certainly the purchasing  power  of
   the  Thais  is not much lower than the Malaysians.   And
   this  may  enable Thailand to contribute to the lowering
   of  costs  in Malaysia while Malaysia can help  increase
   the income and growth of the Thai economy.
   15.   There  are  the downside elements of  course.   An
   influx   of  cheap  Thai  products  can  push  Malaysian
   products  off the shelf and render Malaysian  industries
   non  viable.   Lower wages for Thai workers would  cause
   unemployment  for  Malaysian  workers.   The  purchasing
   power  of  Malaysians  can  push  up  prices  and  cause
   inflation  in Thailand.  This would undermine  the  cost
   advantage of Thailand.
   16.   The European Union experience is a good guide  for
   cross-border  collaboration.  The  introduction  of  the
   Euro  has  caused a rise in the cost of  living  in  the
   poorer  members  of the union.  Wages have  gone  up  to
   compensate for this and as a result the whole of  Europe
   has  become a high cost area.  Cheap workers  cannot  be
   obtained from the European low cost countries any  more.
   They  now come from Africa and Asia, bringing with  them
   a number of social problems.
   17.   If  there  is  going  to  be  greater  integration
   between  Malaysia and Thailand it has to  be  very  well
   planned  and  carefully executed.  It  should  initially
   involve  the  border  areas and a step-by-step  approach
   should  be  adopted.   Sudden  radical  change  must  be
   18.   In the designated border areas, the two countries'
   comparative advantages should be identified and  offered
   to  investors  from  both countries and  to  foreigners.
   Care  should be taken that there would be minimal damage
   to   the  local  businesses  and  the  workers  of  both
   countries.   There  will be some  disruption  but  these
   could be minimised.
   19.    It  will  need  skill  and  a  lot  of  patience.
   Malaysia  has  had a lot of experience in the  field  of
   integrating the economy.
   20.   During  the  British  colonial  period  the  Malay
   states  were  independent  entities,  having  their  own
   custom   and   tariff   barriers   apart   from    other
   differences.   The  British  persuaded  four   Malaysian
   States  to  federate,  thus creating  a  single  customs
   area.   The  other five states opted to  remain  outside
   this  federation and the principal custom area.  As  can
   be  imagined  customs  checks were everywhere  and  much
   corruption  and  smuggling took place.  Development  was
   hampered for a whole variety of reasons, not least  from
   lack of revenue collected.
   21.   But when Malaya achieved independence in 1957, the
   states  agreed to a customs union and most of the  taxes
   were   collected   by   the   Central   Government   and
   redistributed  in an equitable and fair  manner.   Later
   when  Sabah  and Sarawak joined the federation  to  form
   Malaysia, there was no difficulty integrating  with  the
   states  of  the Peninsular.  Some concessions are  still
   made  to  preserve  state authority but  most  functions
   have been integrated.
   22.   Today  even  the poorer states have  enjoyed  good
   growth  because  funds from the Central  Government  are
   channelled  to them.  The richer states do not  complain
   because  the virtual removal of state borders creates  a
   much  bigger single market, which in turn reduces, costs
   all  round.   When there is a shortage of  workers,  the
   poorer  states  are  able  to  make  up,  and  sites  of
   industries can take advantage of the lower cost  in  the
   poorer states.
   23.   Clearly  by  sacrificing revenue  allocation,  the
   rich states have gained and so have the poorer states.
   24.    The   states  have  retained  autonomy  in   some
   government  function without being totally  independent.
   It  is  not  hard to imagine that a gradual but  limited
   integration   in  the  border  areas  of  Thailand   and
   Malaysia should achieve much of the same results.
   25.    The  European  Union  is  again  a  good   guide.
   Beginning  as  collaboration  in  the  steel  and   coal
   Industries, the European countries have gone on  to  the
   formation  of  the  European  Economic  Community,   the
   acceptance  of a single currency and finally  the  union
   of   very   distinctive  European  countries  into   the
   European Union.  It is not yet as unified as the  United
   States  of  America is unified, but gradually  a  single
   entity  and  identity  is emerging.   Unified,  it  will
   become a powerful state, able to supply practically  all
   its  needs, becoming almost a world unto itself  as  the
   United States is.
   26.   It  has  taken  the Europeans  more  than  half  a
   century  to  reach  its  present stage  of  integration.
   They  still have a long way to go.  Obviously  time  and
   patience are needed.
   27.   The  Asean  countries have formed  AFTA  with  the
   objective  of  integrating  our  economies.   Like   the
   European  Union  it  will  take  time  to  achieve  this
   limited  objective, but eventually we can  achieve  much
   of  what  the Europeans have achieved.  Because  we  are
   not  as  homogenous as the Europeans we  must  begin  by
   experimenting with limited integration.  While  we  work
   towards  AFTA  we  should also experiment  with  greater
   integration   between  neighbouring   countries   on   a
   bilateral  scale.  The cooperation between Thailand  and
   Malaysia  in the border areas should show the  way.   If
   it  works, and it is likely to work if there is goodwill
   and  sympathetic  consideration by all  concerned,  then
   the  area designated can be enlarged.  Perhaps there can
   be   a  degree  of  integration  of  the  five  southern
   provinces of Thailand and the northern Malaysian  states
   of Kedah, Perlis and Kelantan.
   28.   But  even  while this is happening  there  can  be
   enhanced cooperation between Malaysia and Thailand  over
   and  above  those identified in AFTA.  We  already  have
   road  and rail connections linking not only Kuala Lumpur
   and  Bangkok but also many places in between and beyond.
   All  along these land links there are facilities,  which
   can  be made use of to enhance the distribution of goods
   and services offered by both countries.
   29.   Not  all  of  these  things  can  be  accepted  or
   implemented  immediately.  There are national  interests
   to  be  considered.   And there may  be  other  reasons,
   which  militates against the acceptance of these  ideas.
   Besides   while   it  is  easy  to  make   a   decision,
   implementing  it is not so easy.  That  is  why  leaders
   talk  about the need to cooperate but somehow  there  is
   no  cooperation and no progress.  That is because at the
   ground  level the understanding and the spirit  are  not
   there.   Understanding  is very  important.   While  the
   decision makers know what they mean and what they  want,
   the  implementers may not. And when implementers do  not
   understand  they  cannot be expected  to  implement  the
   decision.   It  is  therefore  important  that  decision
   makers,  to a little extent, at least practise a  hands-
   on approach.
   30.   Over the next two days participants from  our  two
   countries,  Government as well as  private  sector  will
   discuss  a  wide  area of bilateral  cooperation.   They
   will  hear  all the arguments for and against the  ideas
   mooted.   And  they will be making some resolutions  and
   even  decisions.  No doubt what they resolve  or  decide
   will  be good for both countries, will help move forward
   the  cooperation between us.  But unless  they  go  back
   and  explain to the implementers, the bureaucracy,  what
   the  decisions are all about and why they were made  and
   how  important  they are, there will be  practically  no
   movement on the ground.  We would have wasted our time.
   31.   But  apart  from the bureaucrats, the  Government,
   i.e.  the  cabinets will also have to decide.  I  assume
   that  the  basic principles and the need  for  bilateral
   cooperation   have   already  been   approved   by   the
   Governments.   There should therefore be  no  objections
   by  the  Government.   In  any case  the  heads  of  the
   Government  are  here in Langkawi.   By  their  presence
   they  are giving tacit approval to the work to  be  done
   to  flesh  out the principles.  But Cabinets  cannot  be
   overridden  or  overlooked even by heads of  Government.
   And  Cabinets  by  their  consent  to  this  partnership
   dialogue are in fact promoting cooperation.
   32.   There  are  other bilateral and trilateral  border
   arrangements, which have been identified  by  the  ASEAN
   countries.    Some   have   made   progress   but    the
   contributions  to ASEAN growth are not yet  significant.
   With   this  focus  on  bilateral  cooperation   between
   Thailand   and  Malaysia,  it  is  possible   that   our
   cooperation can lay the grounds and provide the  example
   for the other cross-border growth areas.
   33.   It  is  important that we make a success  of  this
   dialogue  and  the  actions that will  follow.   Actions
   speak  better than a thousand resolutions.  Even  if  we
   act  and implement a small percentage of the resolutions
   and  decisions, they will be very significant.   So  let
   us  put  aside our suspicions of each other, seek  areas
   of  agreements, decide and then go back to implement the
   needed  action.   Within  a given  time  frame  we  must
   present a report on what we have done.

   Sumber : Pejabat Perdana Menteri