Kuala Lumpur, 7 July 1997/K/JC/15604/c-is

At an Asian regional conference on globalization and its impact on religions and cultures, Anwar Ibrahim, Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Malaysia, stated that "globalization will be our ally rather than adversary" if the countries of Southeast Asia remain circumspect and discriminating in regard to foreign influence. He pleaded for an "attitude of guarded openness towards others" and directly addressed Asia's relations with the West:

"We must approach globalization from a position of strength and confidence. Globalization has done us a good service, particularly in the economic sphere in which the table has been turned,with the dominator fearing the loss of his domination. The precise reason why globalization has become the buzzword in Europe and North America is that it is set to change their economic fortunes", Mr. Anwar Ibrahim stated. "But now that Asian goods are flooding their market, and their jobs are threatened by global competition, they are experiencing a rude awakening." He further said that the "economic empowerment of Asia has tipped the balance of the global economic order and will eventually influence the global political arrangement." In regard to the cultural aspects of globalization, the Acting Prime Minister of Malaysia stated that "more than any other cultural force, religion will become the singular most important force resisting the tendency towards uniformity ... It is religion that will ensure that the world remains multicultural, rather than being dominated by a single colossus."

The three day conference was organized by the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), a Malaysian-based NGO. The President of the I.P.O., Dr. Hans Koechler, serves as a member of the international advisory panel of JUST.


Full text of Anwar Ibrahim's speech