Aug 4, 2007

Tun Mahathir : South-South Nations Must Strengthen Ties To Tackle Poverty

(Bernama) -- South nations must reinforce ties among themselves to combat the ever increasing challenges faced by developing countries, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, founder of the long-running Langkawi International Dialogue (LID) which enters its eighth edition on Sunday.

Speaking to Bernama in an interview recently, the former Malaysian Prime Minister said linkages between these developing nations should be upgraded, describing LID as an ideal platform to "renew their vows."

"I think LID will help. The government is backing it and it is spending a lot of money to hold this," he said.

Dr Mahathir, who is also the Perdana Leadership Foundation president, has confirmed his attendance at the three-day event beginning on Sunday at the Berjaya Langkawi Beach and Spa Resort here.

However, the outspoken leader, who was Prime Minister for 22 years before giving up the post in 2003, will not be presenting any paper at LID 2007.

After retiring, Dr Mahathir attended LID in 2004 when he was appointed Commonwealth Partnership for Technology Management Fellow Emeritus.

LID 2007, themed "Poverty Eradication through Human Capital Development and Capacity Building," will take the conference a notch higher, concentrating on issues that matter a lot to South nations.

Poverty has been one of the major issues that have hampered South countries, making it difficult for them to attain developed nation status.

These mostly African nations will need to seek guidance from Malaysia in formulating action plans as the country has successfully almost eradicated poverty.

They also acknowledged that one of the ways to overcome the problem is through education.

Last year, Malaysia's total investment in South countries amounted to US$4.8 billion (RM16.51 billion) through brisk efforts by the government to encourage local firms to invest in developing nations.

LID 2007 will not only involve the South countries but is also open for the first time to leaders from outside the Commonwealth countries, such as Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand.

A total of 16 heads of government, mostly from Africa, and 500 participants have confirmed their participation.

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