“A Tribute to YABhg Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad”
YBhg Dato’ Md Nor Yusof
Chairman, Securities Commission
15 May 2004
Mutiara Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad,
Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali,
Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Abdul Gani Patail, Peguam Negara,
Yang Berhormat Dato’ Dr. Ng Yen Yen, Timbalan Menteri Kewangan I,
Yang Berhormat Mulia Tengku Dato’ Putera Tengku Awang, Timbalan Menteri Kewangan II ,
Tan Sri-Tan Sri, Dato’ Seri-Dato’ Seri, Datuk-Datuk, Dif-Dif Kerhormat,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. I am deeply honoured and privileged to be able to welcome you to this evening in honour of Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. On behalf of all capital market participants, let me thank Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun and Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah for being here tonight to allow all of us to show in a very small way our deepest appreciation for all that you have done for the capital market, for the economy and, for Malaysia.
2. We do recognise Tun that no dinner however elaborate and no tribute however comprehensive can do justice to one of our nation’s foremost statesmen, a man who has served the nation so selflessly, so tirelessly and done so much for us for over 22 years as our Prime Minister.
3. What does one say in tribute to someone so visionary that in 1991 he fixed his gaze 30 years forward to 2020 , giving new meaning to the phrase ‘perfect vision'; someone who told us to Look East when, decades after independence, we were still looking the opposite direction, in awe of those who once ruled our country.
4. What does one say about someone who preaches and practices ‘Prosper Thy Neighbour’ and promotes Smart Partnership in a global environment increasingly threatened by destructive conflicts and competition; someone whose 2 words – Malaysia Boleh – have inspired ordinary Malaysians to conquer the Everest, trek the Antartica, sail solo round the globe and parachute over the North Pole?
5. How can a mere speech say enough about someone who through his stewardship of Permodalan Nasional Bhd has democratised the ownership of corporate Malaysia, giving a stake to farmers and fishermen alike. Someone who through his Malaysia Inc. and Privatisation policies made the private sector the engine of the nation’s growth and the capital market a key source of funding? Tun Dr. Mahathir had told us, in no uncertain terms, and I quote, “if a developing economy is to progress, it needs a fast-expanding capital market”.
6. What does one say about a leader who during the darkest hours of the country’s financial history had the courage and conviction to stand alone in the face of the severest of critics, to challenge and defy sacrosanct structures and practices and mores in the global financial architecture so as to mitigate the effects of the financial meltdown on Malaysia?
7. Indeed, what do you say about a man who dared to say NO to the IMF ?
8. The legacy of a father is his children, a leader his nation. Tun’s reformist zeal and burning desire to transform and modernise not merely the infrastructure and economy of Malaysia but also the mindset, values and work ethics of Malaysians have made us all proud beneficiaries of his efforts. In 1981, Malaysia’s per capita income was RM3,936. Today it is RM14,592. In 1981 there were 253 companies listed on the stock exchange with a market capitalisation of RM55 billion. As at end of 2003, there were 906 companies listed on Bursa Malaysia with a market capitalisation of RM640 billion. In 1981 only RM930 million was raised through the equity market, in 2003 the amount was RM7.6 billion.
9. Over the 22 years at the helm of the Malaysia’s leadership, Tun has propelled the nation to become one of the worlds foremost emerging economies, achieving the status of 17 th largest trading nation in the world and 4 th in terms of trading competitiveness in 2003, surpassed only by US, Canada and Australia.
10. These economic feats were not achieved at the expense of physical and social development or away from the global political arena. Twenty years ago, Malaysia was known as a tin and rubber exporting country situated to the north of Singapore and to the south of Thailand. Today this very country is home to the KLIA, Putrajaya, Cyberjaya, Multimedia Supercorridor, and the Twin Towers. This very same country has hosted the Commonwealth Games, NAM, OIC, Langkawi International Dialogue and numerous other international events.
11. In the history books these are usually the achievements of a generation of leaders, not just one man.
12. Tun devoted his time, efforts, and energy not just for Malaysia. He took on the courageous leadership of the developing world and played a key role in the arena of global politics and statesmanship. An instantly recognisable figure on this stage, Tun’s enthusiastic participation in international engagements and his presence at major investor conferences and summits was instrumental in profiling the Malaysian capital market to global investors.
13. It is indeed a reflection of Tun’s contributions to capital market development that we have had overwhelming response from the industry for this dinner. Regrettably but not surprisingly, despite the large number of tables available here tonight we still had to turn many away.
14. Finally, the Securities Commission is especially grateful to you, Tun, for having supported the Securities Commission’s past efforts. We are also deeply honoured by your consenting to officially launch, later tonight, the Commission’s 10 th Anniversary Book on the history and perspective of capital market development in Malaysia, which we hope will record for posterity past experiences and insights into the evolution of the capital market and the industry to which we all belong.