Monday, May 31, 2010

Poverty in Democracy

This post is an extract of the speech delivered during FAO Regional Conference in New Delhi, India on 10th February 1991.

Quality of Life

The quality of life of our farmers, breeders and fishermen should be measured in the following terms:

1) Adequate, tasty and quality food
2) Sporting activities for health and recreation
3) Clean and beautiful environment
4) Music and culture
5) Proper housing and dressing

We should try to introduce quality as a stimulating or motivating factor. A man with increased income will not but a violin but a man who is interested in playing the violin will struggle to increase his income to buy one. We know that married couples do not voluntarily plan their family to improve their income but a couple with good income will voluntarily plan their family.

Man before Commodity

If it is possible to change our approach to agriculture from ‘commodity before man’ to ‘man before commodity’, it should also be possible to change our approach to life from ‘income before quality of life’ to ‘quality of life before income’. It is for these reasons that:

1) Malaysian rural women are taught international cooking
2) Sports are organised for farmers and fishermen
3) Landscape competitions are organised nationwide to turn villages into beautiful gardens
4) Musicians identified among farmers resulting in the formation of ‘Farmers’ Symphony Orchestra’
5) Agro theatre
6) Extension work organised to improved sewing and other skills for women and men
7) Better homes

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Pacific Century

This post is an extract of the speech delivered during FAO Regional Conference in Beijing, China on 23rd April 1990.


There is a need for an integrated idea for poverty eradication. Each nation has its own success and failures in the effort to alleviate poverty. The successful efforts of every nation should be integrated into an instrument to wipe out poverty. To do so, we need WIPER of the World Institute for Poverty Eradication.

An Independent National Organisation

A WIPER in each nation is a national organisation without an international bureaucratic control. It is in line with the Five Principle of Peaceful Coexistence. Only the idea and purpose should be global. There should be an exchange of information and experience among the WIPERs of the world. A WIPER is a training institute. WIPER students of any age should have experienced poverty and not just read about it.

WIPER in the Ghettos

A national unit of WIPER can open its courses to foreign participants. It is up to the initiative of each individual WIPER. The poor of any country should be trained to help themselves. The staff of the institute can be selected from the international community of nations.

Public and private institutions in any country as well as international organisations concerned for the poor should support WIPER. There is a need for a WIPER in every nation as even in developed nations including the United States where there are 19 million people who are deemed politically insignificant and living in ghettos.

It is imperative not only for poor nations to be assisted by the rich; poor people in rich nations should also be helped by rich people in poor nations for poverty is universal.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How to Run Any Organisation

This post is an extract of the speech delivered during the AARRO Conference in Accra, Ghana on 16th March 1990.


At the CIRDAP meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam in December last year, I had said that many changes have taken place in politics, science, social developments and natural calamities. In politics, there is only Vietnam now and there is to be one Germany soon.

In science, it is worthwhile to note that in 1900, it took over two months to travel around the world by steamboats and railroads. In 1950, the same trips could be made in four days by a propeller driven airplane. In 1980, it took only twenty four hours to go around the world in a supersonic jet. By 1999, when an aircraft capable of exiting that atmosphere could well be in operation, the time needed to circle the globe will be reduced to minutes. Futurists are of the opinion that great advances will be made in the world in the fields of:

1)      Communication
2)      Robotics
3)      Bioengineering
4)      Medicine

While futurists talk of these advances, they are normally referring to great changes in the future in the advanced countries. For developing countries, like most of us, we are still bogged down with poverty. We still talk about the need for:

1)      Food
2)      Clothing
3)      Shelter

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Of Human Values

This post is an extract of the speech delivered during the CIRDAP Conference in Hanoi, Vietnam on 7th December 1989.
The Rich

Malaysia acknowledges that poverty contributes towards environmental decline but it is only because the poor are unable to help themselves. If they are denied a few natural resources that they still have, they will become poorer and would cause even greater environmental degradation. On the other hand, the rich can afford not only to reduce their waste-generating lifestyle but can expand more on reforestation of the agricultural land they had wrested from the forests. With their technology and wealth, they can make millions of acres of desert bloom.

The Poor Minorities

CIRDAP member nations comprise countries where the experience of poverty is still real and not just intellectual. The World Food Survey pegged the number of undernourished at not less than 500 million people. They need food.

Poverty has put a strangle hold on the harmonious application of the divine rule. As humans, we need shelter for rest, clean water to drink and clean environment for generation of oxygen.

Monday, May 24, 2010

20-11-1989- Food and Environment

This post is an extract of the speech delivered during the FAO Conference in Rome, Italy on 20th November 1989.

Trade, Debt and Poverty

In November 1987, in this hall, I mentioned about free trade as the best thing that can happen in this world. The link between trade, debt and poverty must be re-compromised. However, as exporting nations become importers of industrial products, restrictions are imposed on imports. It is even worse when industrial nations become competitors in the export agriculture products with poor agricultural nations.

It is an irony that while the developing countries are making every effort to make some headway in their export of agricultural products at competitive prices, without the benefit of heavy subsidies and other supports, various new barriers are being put up in disguised forms to limit their accessibility to some markets.

The barriers include the form of germinating fear in the minds of consumers by propagating that the products are hazardous to health and by providing producer subsidies under the guise of food aid.

There had been an incident when a Malaysian scientist, on a scholarship, wrote a doctoral thesis on vegetable oils and fats. He was not allowed to submit his findings following objection by the association representing another rival vegetable oil that funded the faculty.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

09-11-1989- A Besieged World

This post is an extract of the speech that was delivered during the AMAF Meeting in Singapore on 9th November 1989.


We can consider ourselves fortunate that as developing nations, we have always been confronting issues, mostly created by developed nations, as a united front in a determined and concerted manner.

We have always been unanimous in our desire and untiring efforts to overcome these issues to ensure that our people have a better quality of life. We recognise that we have to unite to confront these issues just as we need these issues for our unity.

Rural Development

Given the important role of agriculture and food production in our economies, the responsibility we have before us is definitely quite daunting. The task of rural development is a continuing and increasing challenge.

Nevertheless, I am confident that with unity and determination, it should not be insurmountable. So long as we do not depart from the goals and aspirations we have for our people, strengthened by the spirit of ASEAN cooperation and solidarity that have been clearly demonstrated, we can achieve our targets and objectives to face the future with confidence.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

11-08-1989 - A Sharing World

This post is an extract of the speech that was delivered during the Asia Pacific Forum in Yakima, United States of America on 11th August 1989.

Conditions for Success

I am tempted to suggest that there are three conditions for economic success:

1) Lose a war as Japan, South Korea and Germany
2) Enjoy foreign military protection as Japan, South Korea and Germany
3) Exploit the United States market.

I am not preaching for a Third World War. Far from it, I do believe that world peace and free trade are keys to global prosperity.


Poverty exists among the rice growers, fishermen, rubber and coconut small-holders. It is not our policy to grow crops or rear animals that we can import cheaper.

We will therefore eschew growing more rice, maize or sugar. We will continue importing fruits and will not go into cattle rearing in a big way. We will, however, cut back on the import of mutton. We will grow more local fruits for export while continuing to import those that cannot be economically grown in our country.