Parliament next month should start off with a White Paper and
comprehensive debate on the 13th NAM Summit and how Malaysia can ensure that
NAM is relevant and revitalized in the three years it is Chair of the
Media Conference Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
Wednesday): The Prime Minister, Datuk
Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad declared at the closing of the 13th Non-Alignment
Movement (NAM) Summit that the 47-year-old NAM remains as relevant as ever,
that its relevance should no longer be questioned and that NAM had now been
However, he said, the NAM members had a crucial role to play in closing
ranks and strengthening their unity so as to be able to speak with one voice
on issues of vital importance to the movement.
Nothing would have gladdened the hearts, rekindled the hopes and inspired
the dreams of the majority of humanity represented by the 116 NAM member
nations which constitute almost two-thirds of the United Nations than the
rediscovery of NAM's relevance through a meaningfull process of
It is now for Malaysia to deliver what former NAM Summits for more than a
decade had failed, to fulfil the promise of a new relevance and meaningful
revitalization of NAM, which cannot be achieved by high-sounding words in
the closing remarks of any NAM Summit as if by a wave of the magic wand.
Malaysians must face up to the fact that it is an impossibly tall order for
Malaysia, as the Chair of NAM for the next three years, to play a leading
and meangingful role to ensure a new relevance and the revitalization of
NAM, and that if we are serious in our NAM commitments and not just spent
over RM200 million for an one-off international extravaganza, then all
Malaysians must be prepared to put their shoulders to the wheel of such a
national commitment by accepting it as a national challenge involving all
sectors of the Malaysian society.
One of the greatest flaws of Malaysia's hosting the 13th Kuala Lumpur NAM
Summit is the virtual exclusion of all opposition political opinion and the
Malaysian NGOs from full participation in the formulation of NAM agenda,
policies and directions.
In the post-13th NAM Summit, the first purposive action that should be taken
in the next two weeks is for the government to present a White Paper to
Parliament when it reconvenes on March 10, with a comprehensive
parliamentary debate preceding all other parliamentary business, on the 13th
NAM Summit and how Malaysia can ensure that NAM is relevant and revitalized
in the three years that the country is Chair of the movement.
An all-party parliamentary committee on NAM and a Malaysian NGOs NAM
co-ordinating council are among the initiatives that should be acted upon if
Malaysia is serious in wanting to provide international leadership to make
NAM relevant again and embark on the process of revitalization.
To claim that the relevance of NAM is unquestioned and should
not be doubted just because of a two-day talk fest by NAM leaders in Kuala
Lumpur is only to invite cynicism, skepticism and even ridicule - when it
would be more credible and realistic for all concerned to admit that NAM's
prolonged crisis of relevance should be successfully addressed in the next
three years when Malaysia is the Chair of NAM.
Five years ago at the 12th NAM Summit, the Durban Declaration proclaimed "a
new age - the age of the emergent nations, the age of the South, the age of
renewal and renaissance, the aqe of justified hope". It concluded with the
stirring peroration: "Durban must mark the turning point where the formerly
dispossessed, the majority, enter into their inheritance."
The past five years between the Durban and Kuala Lumpur NAM Summits have
proved none of these things - there was no new age, no renewal or
renaissance, no justified hope, no turning point, and no entry into the
Let the Kuala Lumpur NAM Summit not go into history as another exercise of
"full of sound and fury, signifying nothing".
I for one am very disappointed that the 13th NAM Summit had not gone beyond
the oratorical pyrotechnics of the NAM leaders, for hardly any NAM leader
dealt with the important and substantive issues of human dignity, justice,
freedom, democracy, the rule of law and good governance which were among the
Ten Points for NAM Revitalisation which I had addressed them in my Open
Letters in the past two days.
In fact, whether the spirit and solidarity of the 13th Kuala Lumpur NAM
Summit where NAM leaders had discovered their relevance and could with one
voice on issues of vital importance will come under critical test very fast,
in a matter of days - over the second resolution of the UN Security Council
on Iraq disarmament of weapons of mass destruction and the looming US-led
war against Iraq.
If the 13th NAM Summit has brought forth a NAM unity where NAM members can
speak in one voice on the crucial issues of peace and war in the
international arena, then NAM should be able to ensure that the UN Security
Council is not bullied or bulldozed into war against Iraq against
This is because NAM has six members on the UN Security Council - Angola,
Guinea, Syria, Pakistan, Chile and Cameroon - and together with anyone of
the four other UN Security Council members - France, Germany, Russia and
China - can defeat any imperious US-UK resolution as seven votes against is
needed to defeat a Security Council resolution.
Can the 13th Kuala Lumpur NAM Summit tell the world in the next one or two
weeks that its relevance should no longer be questioned with an united and
solid stand in the UN Security Council by the six NAM member nations on the
issue of looming war in Iraq?
Lim Kit Siang, DAP National