(Petaling Jaya, Friday): I welcome the government's promise to allow the holding of a People's Summit by Asia-Pacific NGOs on the occasion of the 1998 APEC Summit in Kuala Lumpur next November.
During the debate on the 1998 budget allocations for the Foreign Ministry in Parliament on Wednesday, I had called on the government to openly commit itself to allow the holding of a parallel NGOs' People's Summit to coincide with the holding of the APEC 1998 Summit in Kuala Lumpur in November next year as the NGOs' Alternative People's Summit has become an indispensable and integral part of important international conferences.
In my speech in Parliament, I had stressed that Malaysia should allow such a NGOs' People's Summit to coincide with the APEC 1998 Summit in Kuala Lumpur next year to show the country's commitment to the development of a global civil society.
In his reply, the Deputy Foreign Minister, Datuk Dr. Leo Michael Toyad said that the NGOs' People's Summit could be held in Kuala Lumpur to coincide with 1998 APEC Summit next November if it is peaceful and polite. He added that the proposal for a People's Summit is good if it could contribute to regional development.
To my question whether the government could ensure that nasty incidents like the breaking up of the APCET II meeting in Kuala Lumpur last year would not happen in the event of the holding of a People's Summit by Asia-Pacific NGOs, Michael Toyad said that the government could guarantee that undesirable incidents would not occur to those who are peaceful and polite.
I would suggest that the Malaysian Government should work closely with Asia-Pacific NGOs and to give all assistance, including the provision of meeting facilities, to make the Asia-Pacific People's Summit during the 1998 APEC Summit an equal success.