KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 18 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has expressed hope that the Kuala Lumpur Summit (KL Summit) 2019 will pave the way for bigger things for the Muslim community.
“We hope that at the end of the summit, we will be able to affirm a few specific initiatives that can be the catalyst to bigger things,” the prime minister and KL Summit chairman said tonight.
Dr Mahathir said this at the welcoming dinner for summit participants at a leading hotel here located close to the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, the venue of the four-day summit that runs until Saturday.
Dr Mahathir shared with the audience as to why the summit is being convened in the Malaysian capital.
“We have endeavoured to hold this summit because we feel that we have to do something to improve the lives of Muslims the world over,” he said.
He continued: “We feel that we need to overcome Islamophobia. We need to find a way to address our shortcomings, our dependency on non-Muslims to protect ourselves against the enemies of Islam.”
As he extended a warm welcome to summit participants, Dr Mahathir took the opportunity to highlight Malaysia’s multicultural and multireligious coexistence.
He said while the majority of Malaysians are Muslims, the country has a substantial minority who are from different faiths, cultures, customs and ways of life.
Dr Mahathir highlighted the fact that despite the differences, Malaysians have been able to live alongside one another in peace.
“We will never claim to be the perfect Muslim or the model of a good Muslim nation. But we can attest that we have been able to live with our non-Muslim citizens in peace and harmony for decades,” he said.
This tradition, he said, has existed since the country’s independence.
Dr Mahathir said admittedly, there have been minor racial and religious conflicts.
“But they are rare and few, insignificant if we are to compare with the period of peace, goodwill and prosperity.
“To our mind, this is what Islam enjoins us to do — to live peacefully with our non-Muslim citizens and work together to build a nation that is prosperous, peaceful and harmonious,” the prime minister said. — Bernama