Monday, 28 May 2007

Badawi on Financial Times

The Financial Times yesterday carried a piece on the challenges of the Muslim world by our very own Prime Minister – I wonder who is the real writer behind the piece.


I think subscription is needed to read the whole piece, so here goes:


The real challenge for Muslim nations is economic
By Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi, May 27 2007


The divide between the Muslim world and the west has become the great issue of the decade. It has succeeded the cold war as the strategic issue of global concern. The terrorist attacks of September 11 2001 and the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the Palestinian issue, have created the impression of a clash of civilisations.


The confrontation between the Muslim world and the west is inflicting enormous political, economic and security costs on both sides. The human cost is especially appalling on the Muslim side. It is in the interests of both the west and the Muslim world that this confrontation ends and that we work together to ensure that it does.


At the meeting of the World Islamic Economic Forum under way in Malaysia, Muslim leaders from countries as diverse as Pakistan, Kuwait and Indonesia have allowed me to share with them my vision of a new “Economic Agenda for the Islamic World”. This must be a central pillar in our efforts to tackle the roots of unrest and help our own peoples, thus also addressing the causes of discontent that create breeding grounds for terrorism.


There is a danger that today’s overwhelming focus on the Muslim world’s political relationship with the west is diverting attention from even more fundamental social and economic problems. The Muslim landscape that stretches from Morocco to Mindanao is more diverse than western commentators often suppose. There are peaceful countries where the people are wealthy, healthy and educated. However, these are sadly outnumbered by countries and regions that are under­developed, poor and in turmoil.


Some 31 of the 57 member states of the Organisation of Islamic Conference are classified among the least developed nations, including the countries that occupy the bottom five places on that list. Unemployment rates are double the global average, nearly one-third of the population is illiterate and women face many disadvantages. This level of backwardness and economic deprivation helps fuel a host of social ills and makes it easier for people to recruit terrorists.


Poor governance is a feature of many parts of the Muslim world. Political oppression, abuse of civil and political rights and corruption trouble many Muslim countries. Extremism and militancy also dot parts of the Muslim landscape due to factors that are largely domestic but are sometimes external.


What is needed is a clear and shared commitment to eradicate poverty, illiteracy and unemployment in the Islamic world. These are the real threats to both the Muslim and western worlds. If people have a sense of economic opportunity and purpose they are far less likely to be seduced into becoming terrorists.


The Muslim world is challenged on many fronts and must confront these challenges squarely. It is the challenges from within that are the gravest and to which the greatest attention must be devoted. It is only by taking responsibility for their own fate that Muslim countries can gain the self-respect needed to occupy a position of dignity within the global community. Unless they are economically strong, politically viable and socially resilient, they will remain marginalised from the global mainstream; vulnerable to exploitation, division and domination.


Development must, therefore, be at the top of the agenda of all Muslim countries and communities. This is not simply an issue of income levels, good housing and adequate health facilities. It must also mean a literate and in­formed society, a representative political system that gives effective voice to the people, the absence of severe inequalities, efficient and honest administration and a commitment to the rule of law. A country cannot be considered developed until rights are respected, women are empowered, minorities protected and corruption eradicated.


The west can help Muslim countries meet these goals. Indeed, it is in the west’s interest to do so, not least because it is the best way to counter violent extremism and heal the divisions that feed it. But, it is also time that other world leaders recognise that most Muslims share their hopes for a prosperous and peaceful world.


Muslim leaders are already taking responsibility for modernising their own societies. Malaysia will continue to lead by example. This, and not the nihilism of global terrorism, represents the truest form of liberation and it is one I would call on all world leaders to support.


These two paragraphs are… erm, … like rain on my wedding day:


Poor governance is a feature of many parts of the Muslim world. Political oppression, abuse of civil and political rights and corruption trouble many Muslim countries…


Development must, therefore, be at the top of the agenda of all Muslim countries and communities. This is not simply an issue of income levels, good housing and adequate health facilities. It must also mean a literate and in­formed society, a representative political system that gives effective voice to the people, the absence of severe inequalities, efficient and honest administration and a commitment to the rule of law. A country cannot be considered developed until rights are respected, women are empowered, minorities protected and corruption eradicated.


Teeeeeheee…
Elanor


6 comments:

johnleemk said...

What amusing hypocrisy.

democratic junkie said...

thats badawi's wayang kulit for you....

Jesusawe said...

ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,.......(sorry Elanor, what else can I say?)

Jien Sing said...

Pak Lah is a funny man. HAHAHAHA.

Jeg said...

Badawi is his dad's name. But more racist/provoke disharmony entries?

Shame on ye.

Anonymous said...

his dad thought him how to wayang kulit....