Malaysia’s experience puts me at crossroads each time I visit this country because I make constant comparisons between Kuala Lumpur and other Arab and Islamic capitals. Why it succeeded while others failed, despite potential, riches, financial and human resources in the Arab world?
There are many lessons that can be learned by the Arab world from the Malaysian experience. On top is co-existence, tolerance and accepting the other, which are the most prominent element in enhancing the diverse Malaysian national identity, with its Malay, Chinese and Indian races and Islamic, Buddhist and Hindu religions.
This is what gives Malaysia the motivation to open up, learn and benefit from international experiences, including successful Western and Asian, in addition to self-reliance, the first and foremost.
The policy of looking towards East is inspiring and aims at encouraging Malaysians to benefit from the Japanese development model, particularly in the area of work ethics, industry, technological development, financial and trade policies. It is an effective policy to modernise and upgrade manufacturing by 2020, and applies useful Asian values of work dedication, patience, perseverance and teamwork while avoiding conflicts.
Malaysia’s Vision 2020, launched in 1991, represents an inspiring road map for all. Its successes are continuing compared to the setbacks in other regions, particularly the Arab world, including rich, poor, oil-rich, agricultural and desert countries, which witnessed a decline even in the few achievements they enjoyed throughout history and civilisations.
This vision has confirmed, as stated in the document, a civil democratic state which enjoys social and economic justice. This state has a common destiny. It is also a state that enjoys internal and border peace. It lives in harmony, in fair, integrated partnership that includes Malay ethnic community, with loyalty and dedication to Malaysia.
This state aims at finding an ethical society that has strong religious and spiritual values. It is a liberal state where all Malaysians enjoy freedom and live peacefully, and enjoy tolerance despite different colour and faith and each one practises freely his or her religion, customs, culture and traditions. They all belong to one country, a scientific and progressive society that encourages creativity.
The role of society is not limited to consumption of technology, but contributing to the future technology; a society that enjoys economic justice, equality in distribution of wealth and fully participates in the economic progress. It is a society where people enjoy prosperity because the economy is prosperous and stable with competitive abilities.