Reply to the toast by Yang Di-Pertuan
Agong, 2 September 2003
Your Majesty, Yang di-Pertuan Agong,
Your Majesty, Raja Permausuri Agong,
Your Excellency, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad,
Your Excellency, Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali,
Your Excellencies, Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners,
Ladies and gentlemen:
My wife, our delegation and I are truly delighted to
be back in this beautiful country, Malaysia, and thank
Your Majesties for you invitation to us to come on and
official visit. We also bring the warmest greetings
of the government and the people of South Africa to
Your Majesties, to the Prime Minister, the government
and the people of Malaysia. We are please to congratulate
you on your recent celebrations of the 46th Merdeka
We are here once more to thank Your Majesties, the
government and people of Malaysia for everything you
have done for the liberation and upliftment of you people.
You stood side by side with us during the difficult
struggle against apartheid. Your own independence became
a firm foundation for our own advance to freedom and
democracy. For this, we owe you a permanent debt of
Since our liberation, 9 years ago, our countries and
peoples have grown even closer together, through increased
trade, investment and co-operation in other fields,
including the important area of human resource development.
In this regard, I would like to pay special tribute
to His Excellency, the Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad,
who paid particular attention to the development and
expansion of this co-operation. Among other things,
this has placed Malaysia as one of the largest foreign
investors in South Africa in the period since 1994.
We have also been privileged to draw on your valuable
experience in the implementation of your Bumiputera
programme. This is of critical importance to the success
of our own efforts targeted at black economic empowerment,
to address the racial and gender imbalances that resulted
from many centuries of colonialism and apartheid.
Both the scale and nature of the co-operation we have
achieved, thanks to the focus of Prime Minister Maharthir
on this matter, has given concrete expression to the
objective to which both our countries are committed
-the objective of South-South co-operation.
Malaysia and South Africa share many objectives. One
of these is the development of our countries as stable,
peaceful and prosperous non-racial democracies.
This requires that we intensify our efforts to increase
our political, economic, social and cultural co-operation.
In this regard, the agreement and the memorandum of
understanding on Economic, Scientific, Technical and
Cultural Co-operation that we signed today lays a strong
foundation to achieve these objectives. We will ensure
that all outstanding agreements, inter allia the protection
and promotion of investments and double taxation are
finalised as soon as possible.
A further challenge is the development of the countries
of the South to break out of the vicious cycle of poverty
and underdevelopment. This includes the restructuring
of the relations between North and South and the strengthening
of the United Nations as a democratic institution that
represents and responds to the interests of all countries,
both large and small.
Among other things, we have an obligation to increase
our co-operation as the countries of the South to transform
the United Nations as well the Bretton Woods institutions,
the Non-Aligned Movement and the Commonwealth.
In a few weeks time the international community will
gather in Cancun, Mexico, for the WTO ministerial meeting.
Through our co-operation we must seek to ensure that
this meeting advances the interests of the developing
Further, through our active co-operation we must give
concrete expression to our vision of Afro-Asian solidarity.
The 50th anniversary of the Bandung conference in 2005
provides and opportunity to achieve this objective.
In this regard, we should continue to strengthen the
relations between SEAN and the African Union and together
find ways to collaborate in the important process of
the regeneration of the African continent, through the
AU's programme, the New Partnership for Africa's Development
We are also interested to see our common globe evolve
in conditions of peace. Accordingly, we are committed
to act together to confront the challenge of terrorism.
Similarly, we are keenly interested to the critically
important objective of peace in the Middle East, including
Palestine, Israel and Iraq.
The fact that we share these and other objectives makes
it both possible and necessary that we further deepen
our co-operation to contribute to their accomplishment
in as short a time as possible. The discussions we held
earlier today with the Prime Minister and the government
of Malaysia confirmed our continuing common resolve
to act together on all these matter as resolutely as
Once more, we would like to salute His Excellency,
the Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad for the enormous
contribution he has made to the strengthening of friendly
relations of co-operation and solidarity between our
two countries and peoples, as well as advancing the
course of the developing countries. We wish him continuing
good health and success in his future endeavours after
he leaves office.
We thank their Majesties for giving us the possibility
once more to visit Malaysia. We would be most honoured
if their Majesties found time to visit South Africa,
which they should consider as their second home.
Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen:
Please rise and join me in a toast to the good health
of their Majesties and friendship between the people
of Malaysia and South Africa.