PUTRAJAYA, Nov 21 ― Five countries ― Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Qatar and Pakistan ― will be the pioneers of the Kuala Lumpur Summit, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Dr Mahathir, who is also Kuala Lumpur Summit chairman, said the head of states from Qatar, Turkey and Pakistan have agreed to attend the 2019 summit from December 18 to 21 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

The Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019 will discuss on the Muslim ummah's issue based on the seven pillars namely development and sovereignty; integrity and good governance; culture and identity; justice and freedom.

 The other three pillars are peace, security and defence; trade and investment; and technology and internet governance, he said at the soft launch of Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019 here today.

Dr Mahathir said other countries also had requested and expressed interest to attend the Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019.

“Obviously, we need to have Muslims supporting this initiative but to begin, we have to do it in a small way, and I hope that we can carry this message all over the world,” he said.

With the theme, “The Role of Development In Achieving National Sovereignty”, the summit would be attended by 450 Muslim leaders, thinkers, intellectuals and scholars from all over the world.

On the selection of five countries namely Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Qatar and Pakistan to be the nucleus or core group of the summit, Dr Mahathir said: “We need to keep the group small initially.”

Dr Mahathir said a lot of Muslim countries were preoccupied or facing civil war.

“So we (the summit) select small countries that will have the time and effort to find solutions that is why we choose these five countries.

“It is not they do not have problems, but their problems is not as big as other countries. But I hope later on, others will join,” he said.

Dr Mahathir when asked if the summit was an alternative to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for the betterment of Muslim ummah, said: “OIC is a very big organisation. It is very difficult for us to have such a big organisation to the conference.

“That is why we started with five countries and we do hope over time the other members of OIC will join in,” he said.  ― Bernama