Editor's note On May 5, 1997 the honorable Dato Seri Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia, spoke to a meeting of the Southern Africa International Dialog at Kasane, Botswana. Despite Malaysia's close proximity to Australia, and what seems to be the steady "Asianization" of Australia, Mahathir's speech was given only one minor report in that country's press. He had advocated the flooding of developed countries with millions of legal and illegal migrants. (His suggestion was not noticed elsewhere in the developed world as it should have been.) Here we excerpt portions of the speech from a manuscript obtained upon request from Dr. Mahathir's office by The Social Contract's Australian correspondent, Denis McCormack. Federal Rep. Graeme Campbell placed reference to the speech in the permanent records of the Australian Parliament on May 15, 1997).Copies of the entire speech can be obtained at cost from the Social Contract Press, 1-800-352-4843. Paragraph numbers below are in the original manuscript.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the South African Development Cooperation (SADC) share many common features, one of which is that many of the member states in these two organizations were former colonies of countries from the Imperial North. Malaysia was lucky that the transition from a British colony to an independent nation was a peaceful one. Many others were not so lucky and they had to endure the traumas of bloodshed and civil strife before they could achieve independence from their colonial masters. And this invariably has a deleterious effect on their subsequent development.
9. But can we developing countries be truly independent? Undoubtedly, direct occupation and political control has ended but this has been replaced by much more insidious forms of colonization. Indeed, many of us have found that we are more dependent than when we were colonies. Our politics, economy, social and behavioral systems are still under the control, directly or indirectly, of the old colonial masters and the great powers. And this constitutes the environment in which we have to manage ourselves. Our struggle for independence is far from over.
10. As we all know, the moment the European nations realized that they were going to lose their empires, they decided to come together in order to continue their grip on international affairs. Today the European Union is a powerful force which tries to impose its will on the rest of the world. For a time they were preoccupied with the East-West confrontation, but now that is over and a much more united Europe, which includes the Eastern states and Russia, will confront the rest of the world.
"But we must know that globalization, the breaking down
of national borders, will result in
the loss of independence."11. Their approach will be more subtle. Coloni-zation is over, but now comes globalization. The borders which define countries will be erased and economic competition on a so-called level playing field must reign supreme. Globalization and level playing fields have become the catchwords of a new religion and as we know, you do not challenge religious faith no matter how obviously wrong it is. You merely accept it.
16. How our workers sweated and toiled during the colonial period was not an issue before, but it is an issue now. Millions of acres of prime forests in Malaysia were cut down and burnt in order to grow rubber and mine for tin in the colonial days, and nobody cared. Today environmentalists demonstrate against us and boycott our timber because we build a dam to provide cheap electricity for our people.
17. I appreciate the genuine concern and the cooperation on the part of many from developed countries about developing the poor countries. But I would like to warn developing countries here and elsewhere that there will always be things that the developed will do which will not benefit us. We will face many obstacles, one of the worst is the corruption of our governments with aid in order that we will not speak freely about what is being done against us.
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19. Having lent money to poor countries, the World Bank insists on directing the management of the economy of those countries.
"But we do have the ultimate weapon - people...
We should migrate
north in our millions,
legally or illegally.
Masses of Asians and Africans should inundate Europe and America."20. The advice they give is calculated to benefit the repayment of loans they had given out. The political effects of their directives do not bother them. Frequently countries are destabilized and governments overthrown due to following the advice of the World Bank.
21. Now, of course, the obses-sion is with liberal democracy and the multiparty system. I am all for democracy. Malaysia has many political parties and the opposition invariably win seats in Parliament and in the legislative councils of the states. Opposi-tion parties have formed governments in several states and they still control one state. But the demo-cratic system is not the easiest system to operate.
22. The present liberal democratic countries in the North have had over 200 years of experience. They became democratic slowly. Even today they are in the process of developing the system.
23. But the former colonies which gained independence in the post- World War II period had to go from autocratic government operated by the metropolitan countries to self-administered democracy, overnight literally. How do people who had never known democracy suddenly make this complex system work?
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32. As I pointed out earlier, the moment the North lost their colonies in the South, they set up the European Economic Community which today has become the European Union, a very powerful economic entity capable of forcing its will on the South that they had raped before and impoverished through unfavorable terms of trade. But the North has not finished yet. They have formed the Group of Seven (G7) to totally dominate the world, to colonize it by other means.
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37. We live in an international jungle. There is no law and order in international relations. There is very little justice. The high and the mighty rules. The weak and the poor just have to lump it.
38. With all these threats and obstructive actions we must now face the challenge of globaliza-tion. Are we in a state to face this challenge? Quite obviously not. But no one is going to wait for us to get ready for the challenge. So whether we like it or not we have to face the challenge.
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44. The North can gain much by recolonizing. But we do have the ultimate weapon. People are more mobile now. They can go anywhere. In a borderless world we can go anywhere. If we are not allowed a good life in our countries, if we are going to be global citizens, then we should migrate North. We should migrate North in our millions, legally or illegally. Masses of Asians and Africans should inundate Europe and America. If there is any strength that we have, it is in the numbers. Three-fourths of the world is either black, brown, yellow, or some combination of all these. We will make all nations in the world rainbow nations.
45. This is how we will ultimately challenge globalization. I hope we don't have to resort to this. But we will if we are not allowed a piece of the action, a piece of the cake; if we are not allowed to prosper in a borderless world.