'Find ways to strengthen Asia'

NST Online - 06 September, 2007

KUALA LUMPUR: Asian nations can be in a better position to take on future challenges if they learn more from one another, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. He said the real challenge for Asia was to find ways to strengthen itself as one cohesive region.

"That is not to say Asia should become an exclusionist grouping or bloc of one type or another. Rather, Asia should find ways and means to speak more as a collective voice, to be able to have more clout in putting forth views of what Asia feels is best for Asia.

"This will require leadership and looking at Asia today, I don't doubt for a minute that leadership can be brought forth.

"What is needed is a serious and collective effort of Asian countries towards this end," he said at the opening of the 5th International Convention of Asia Scholars 2007 yesterday.

Najib said as there were many countries in Asia, they could learn from one another to better themselves in various fields.

He said Malaysia was willing to share its experiences in nation building with other Asian countries, noting that many were intrigued to learn how Malaysia managed to be united through wealth and power sharing.

The deputy prime minister said many were also keen to learn how Malaysia faced the communism threat, overcame the Asian financial crisis and promoted Islam Hadhari.

"Malaysia is open and ready to share the lessons we learned from those experiences so that others, especially our Asian counterparts may benefit from them."