20 April, 2010

HONORARY DOCTORATE CONFERMENT CEREMONY


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Mr. Hiromi NAYA
Chairman
Meiji University

Mr. Morihiro NAGAHORI
President
Board of Trustees
Meiji University

Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. First and foremost allow me to state how honored I am to accept this Honorary Doctorate from Meiji University, a university that is held in very high esteem in Japan for its many contributions and sterling achievements. I am proud to be associated with this great institution that carries the namesake synonymous with the process of national reformation and renewal for Japan.

2. Malaysia has long been inspired by Japan’s past struggle for success. We are impressed by your resilience and determination, rising from the ashes of the Second World War to become one of the most powerful global economies. Your success which is based upon single minded dedication, an impeccable work ethic, discipline, high morale and management capability inspired Malaysia’s Look East Policy formulated in the early eighties.

3. Without doubt the Look East Policy which is now entering its 28th year have managed to become a magnet attracting Japanese companies to invest and to set up their businesses and bases in Malaysia. These investments have allowed Malaysia to move up the ladder to become an upper middle income nation within the space of a decade.

4. Malaysia and Japan are two old friends. Our friendship is an enduring relationship predicated upon a common and mutual worldview. Ours is not a relationship of fair weather friends, it is one that has withstood the test of time over the years as both nation work on the possibilities rather than being fixated by the past.

5. Our multifaceted relationship is manifested vibrantly in trade and investment, education and human resource development, capacity building, science and technology, cultural exchanges as well as tourism. Malaysia is indeed appreciative of Japan’s participation in Malaysia’s progress and development over the years. Much has been achieved to date but I believe that much more can be realized through our enhanced partnership.

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen

6. As a nation and as a people we seek to build on our current success and move Malaysia into the ranks of a developed high income economy by 2020. In realizing this goal successful economic policies that have served Malaysia well thus far are insufficient for us to progress to the next level. Malaysia realizes the need to change not only in the way we think but also the way that we do business and the way we formulate and execute our policies.

7. I had recently unveiled both the Government Transformation Programme and the Economic Transformation Plan as the twin thrust enabling Malaysia to propel itself into becoming a developed High Income Economyby the end of this decade.

8. The Government Transformation Programme (GTP) is designed to accelerate our performance in order to achieve developed nation status; the GTP is formulated based upon the overarching principles of 1Malaysia, People First, Performance Now. Through the GTP, several measurable initiatives are mapped out to ensure the Government remains focused on delivering services to the people. The GTP will boost efficiency and effectiveness in the government and is aligned with other national priorities such as the New Economic Model and the Tenth Malaysia Plan.

9. Our immediate GTP goals are to improve the government efficiency and therefore the public service delivery system in areas identified as National Key Result Areas (NKRAs) and Ministerial Key Result Areas (MKRAs). The 6 NKRAs comprises of reduction in crime, fighting corruption, rural basic infrastructure, improving urban public transportation, elevating low-income households and provide access to quality education.

10. The second thrust is the Economic Transformation Plan at the core of which is the New Economic model which will be encapsulated in the 10th and 11th Malaysia Plan. Economic reforms are by nature daunting, but the Malaysian Government under my stewardship has pledged to see it through.

11. We will not shirk from doing what is hard, we will never abdicate from doing what is necessary and we will not step away from taking the difficult decisions just because the challenges that it will present. If we do not seize the opportunity to fundamentally change and institute the necessary reforms needed for a future of sustainable prosperity then we risk being emasculated in the middle income trap.

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen

12. Japan can play a pivotal role in helping Malaysia’s transformation from an industrial economy to an innovation economy much like your help in our first transformation from an agricultural to an industrial economy. We share the belief that it is now perhaps timely to revisit the Look East Policy by introducing new and innovative fields or areas where Japan can share her expertise. Japan’s cutting edge technology in the fields of environment and green technology comes to mind fitting well into this new framework of cooperation.

13. In the field of education through the Look East Policy more than 15,000 Malaysians have benefited, a big number of them engineers and professionals that graduated from universities in Japan with many of them currently occupying mid to high level positions in the public and private sectors in Malaysia. Malaysia can indeed benefit from a much broader education, human resources and capacity building cooperation, especially between institutions of higher learning.

14. Our collaboration must take our relationship to new heights. The synergy can create new avenues of cooperation not only in areas of technology and science but also in the cultural milieu. For as much as Malaysia can learn from Japan’s strength in terms of science and technological advancement, Japan can also gain from Malaysia’s diverse expertise; from oceanography to forestry, from palm oil to tropical medicine, and from Islamic finance to multi-cultural engagement.

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen

15. I strongly believe that Malaysia and Japan can engage in various initiatives at different levels to achieve mutual benefit and our shared goals. First, both nations can foster closer understanding and collaboration through smart partnership, academic engagements and corporate joint ventures.

16. Secondly, we can share resources to create value in an open innovation ecosystem that will benefit both countries at various levels. For example, there can be increased student and staff mobility between universities engaging in innovative projects in various areas of concern that will benefit all parties.

17. In addition, both countries can extend the existing framework such as the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) with the Malaysian Vice Chancellors Council on areas of importance such as sustainability and innovative technology.

18. Another initiative could be to revisit the idea of the Malaysia Japan University as a symbol of our renewed commitment in bilateral relations and in the quest for a more vibrant and dynamic ecosystem for intellectual collaboration. Nevertheless the success of this endeavor hinges upon our mutual commitment to find an equitable modality towards it’s’ realization.

19. The Japanese government has long supported Malaysian academics resulting in high-impact academic collaboration and joint research, while encouraging the mobility of experts between the two countries for many years. In addition, Japanese companies such as Hitachi and Panasonic have also provided scholarships and fellowships for higher degrees and joint research projects.

20. In relation to this, I am happy to be informed that Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, one of the top tier universities in Malaysia, will be setting up a UTM Tokyo Satellite Office based in Meiji University which will further enhance the academic ties and research collaborations already existing between our two nations in areas of concern.

21. Through Research University collaborations, nations can be linked through effective engagements in pertinent research areas that would contribute to knowledge and expertise in such fields as sustainability and innovation as well as other economic and socio-environmental issues currently impacting the world.

22. At the same time, Malaysia is committed to provide facilities and incentives to welcome Japanese research companies to set up operation in Malaysia. We are ready to create a more vibrant and fertile research environment that would support a more creative and innovative investment ecosystem, contributing to the synergistic well being of both nations.

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen

23. We live in a truly interdependent world where advances in the fields of science and technology have given rise to the situation where national prosperity and security can no longer be secured by any one nation acting in isolation.

24. It is thus in this spirit that I just came back from the nuclear security summit in Washington DC where Malaysia and Japan are also participating states. The aim of this summit is to bring like minded nations who see global nuclear proliferation as a clear and present danger to the world we live in.

25. Weapons of mass destruction nuclear weapons included do not contribute in any way to the peace and security of the world we live in. it is indeed a dangerous fallacy to equate national strength and greatness with the possession of such weapons. Their existence is perversely like having a modern day equivalent to the sword of Damocles hanging precariously over our collective heads.

26. We need and must work towards removing this danger for the sake of our future generation. A world free from nuclear weapons is not an option it is an imperative that all nations must work towards. It is poignant today that I am speaking in Japan the only nation that has been traumatized by the usage of this weapon. Humanity can never afford for this experience to be repeated. It must never happen again.

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen

27. Today we stand together at the confluence of time, where age old traditions melds seamlessly with modernity, where East co-exists with the West and where national identities intertwined with global citizenship. Remaining relevant challenges us to reexamine our long held assumptions and prejudices. It requires us to adopt new paradigms while holding on to core values that underline our uniqueness as a nation. This is neither a time for timidity nor of cruising along in exploring the inherent possibilities in terms of our bilateral relationship. This is the opportune moment to push the envelope of cooperation, collaboration and solidarity further for our mutual benefit.

28. In conclusion once again I would like to extend my sincere gratitude and appreciation for the special honor given to me by Meiji University. I hope that this will further enhance the ties and understanding between our two nations as we work towards creating high value in all our endeavors in an increasingly challenging and competitive global environment. May I wish Meiji University more success in the future as a premier learning institution of Japan and increasingly the world.

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