Wed, 31 Aug 1994

Message from H.E. Dato' Dali M. Hashim,

Malaysian Ambassador to the Republic of Indonesia

Today, August 31, 1994 Malaysia celebrates her 37th independence anniversary. On this very joyful day, I would like to warmly congratulate all the people of Malaysia wherever they are, including those staying in the Republic of Indonesia.

In this opportunity, let me congratulate the government and the people of the Republic of Indonesia who commemorated the 49th independence anniversary on August 17, 1994.

Malaysia is a country with various races, namely the Malays and other indigenous ethnic groups who are collectively called the "Bumiputra", the Chinese and Indian descents, and other non- indigenous ethnic groups who are collectively called the "non- Bumiputra". The total population currently is about 18 million.

The main struggles of Malaysia since her independence on August 31, 1957, are to fight against poverty, to distribute the country's wealth evenly and properly to the people of different races and ethnic groups, and to improve the quality of life of the community in general.

Please note that what I mean by poverty here is only in relative proportion, not poverty to the stage of starvation.

A policy called Dasar Ekonomi Baru (DEB, New Economic Policy) played a key role in attaining the three targets. The deadline of this policy was 1990.

Today we are very pleased, because the relative poverty rate has been drastically decreased. Recent statistics show that during the implementation of the DEB the incidence rate of poverty had declined from 52.4 percent in 1970 to only 17 percent in 1990. And it is still going down drastically until today.

Our success in distributing the country's economic wealth among the people of various ethnic groups in Malaysia is obvious from the participation of the Bumiputra in economic activities which previously they rarely participated in or only in a very small scale. Their participation in the manufacturing sector for instance, increased by 50.3 percent from 1970 to 1990.

The success of the DEB in improving the quality of life of the people can also be seen from the increased standards of living. By the end of the DEB, the lowest household income in Malaysia had increased drastically to the US$151 - US$168 range from the 1970 range of only US$27 - US$30.

Meanwhile, Malaysia's economy has been growing consistently high despite global recession in the mid-1980s. Last year the economic growth rate was 8.5 percent, and it was the sixth consecutive year of high growth.

Malaysia is currently implementing the Dasar Pembangunan Nasional (DPN, National Development Policy), to replace the previous DEB. With similar objectives, the new DPN is expected to promote Malaysia into the rank of advanced countries not later than the year 2020, under the concept called "Wawasan 2020" ("Horizon 2020").

External relations

Malaysia plays an active role in its external relations. Under the leadership of the Prime Minister Dato' Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, emphasis is put on the economic aspect of the external relations framework.

Based on the current high economic performance, Malaysia keeps on striving for her external relations aspirations with confidence. In addition to the intentions to build good rapports with all countries in the world, opposing injustice and multiple standards applied within the world system nowadays, also constitutes her endeavor.

ASEAN, however, is the priority in Malaysia's external relations. It is substantiated with her active participation in the regional grouping.

Bilateral relations

The Republic of Indonesia is clearly an important country in the external relations of Malaysia.

The bilateral relations have been quite extensive, from the leaders of both countries to the high ranking officials and consequently to the various agencies of both governments, as well as between their people. There has been a mechanism to hold annual summit meetings between leaders of both countries. In addition, meetings between them are also held whenever and wherever the opportunity allows, either in Malaysia or in Indonesia, or in between conference sessions or other occasions overseas.

The ministers of both countries frequently hold meetings, either in Malaysia or Indonesia or anywhere else when opportunity arises. So do government agencies of both countries. The high frequency of visits between people of the two countries contributes as well to the bilateral relations.

The close and good relations between the two countries have been established by virtue of mutual understanding, including the desire to settle all problems arising between them amicably in the spirit of neighboring countries within ASEAN.

Obviously a strong foundation has been laid for the relations of both countries enabling a closer bilateral relations in the future, insya Allah.