- Online Time
- 1089 Hours
- Last Login
For sharing. Syok gak baca text ucapan Tuanku.... last paragraph yang tak tahan.. ayat 'Jack & Jill' siap promote kelantan lagi|
he he he... He will definetely become a good YDPA.. Amin.
Keynote Address by HRH Sultan Muhammad V, Sultan of Kelantan Darul Naim and Deputy King of Malaysia, at the IBA¡¯s 3rd Asia Pacific Regional Forum Conference, Kuala Lumpur (26 Nov 2012)
Wednesday, 28 November 2012 09:27am
The Honourable Chief Justice of Malaysia, Tun Arifin Zakaria, the Honourable Minister of Tourism, Dato¡¯ Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen, the Honourable Chief Judge of the High Court of Malaya, Tan Sri Zulkefli Makinuddin, Mr Akira Kawamura, President of the International Bar Association, Mr. Lim Chee Wee, President of the Malaysian Bar, Members of the Organising Committee, Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Morning.
It is a distinct pleasure for me to be here at the Third International Bar Association Asia Pacific Regional Forum Conference. It is timely that this conference titled as 'South East Asia and the Global Economy - Legal Developments' is being held here in Kuala Lumpur. Asia, in particular South East Asia, is regaining importance not only politically but also economically and socially.
Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia at the annual Australian Business Council dinner only this month said, ¡°Asia's rise is a certainty¡± and her government aims to make it work for Australia. Its government white paper, 'Australia in the Asian Century' provides for a plan to make the global shift work for Australia. But we hope she will not selfishly pursue the plan for her country but remember that Australia has to co-exist with her Asian neighbours and work for the betterment of all. The President of the United States of America, Barack Obama accompanied by his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was on his first foreign trip since his re-election - a three nation tour of Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar last week before attending the ASEAN Summit. I see this as significant - Asia is of tremendous importance to the rest of the world politically and more so economically especially when North America and Europe in particular are in economic turmoil.
Since the mid-eighties, South East Asia has undergone significant political and economic changes and development. Countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand have since recovered from the Asian Crisis of 1997. Our fellow members in the ASEAN Association, namely Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia are doing well too. Myanmar, once considered the pariah of this region is once again being embraced by the world with the release of Aung Sang Su Kyi after a 15-year house arrest and the changes brought about by its President Thein Sein, a fact epitomized to some extent by the recent visit of the President of the United States of America. In fact, in his speech at the United Nations on 27 September this year, President Thein Sein said that his country is on an irreversible path toward democracy and its parliament has passed a long-delayed foreign investment law.
Today, South East Asia has become the most economically integrated sub-region within Asia, responding to the global economic crisis better than other regions. Its quick rebound has in some way helped the broader global recovery. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde during her visit to Malaysia a very short while ago said that, ¡®ASIA is the next engine of growth. Advanced economies will grow slowly but emerging market economies and low income countries will grow faster. The IMF is optimistic about Asia and has forecasted a growth of 6.6% per annum¡¯.
Although, we cannot grow in isolation and our economies are intertwined, I would like to pay particular attention to my country, MALAYSIA.
Malaysia plans to become a high income nation by 2020. We have in place the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) and other reforms. The ETP reforms were launched in 2010 to propel Malaysia toward a high-income nation by 2020. On 16 November this year, Malaysia unveiled 20 more ETP projects in areas such as healthcare, property, oil & gas, energy, infrastructure, tourism and education. As you can see, the economic pie we offer is quite big. Both local and foreign investors and also the lawyers can share in this pie. Moody's forecast is that our economy will expand by 4.8% in 2013.
However, we have not forgotten the Asian Crisis of 1997 - 1998. A lesson has been learnt and we are more resilient. There is still room for expansion and improvement. We must attract more foreign direct investment, make sure our debt-to-gross domestic product ratio does not remain so high and allow for more equitable distribution of wealth amongst our people and not the just the privileged few.
Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy and we must adhere to the rule of law. Speaking for myself, I strongly believe in the resolution passed in 2009 by the Council of the International Bar Association. I quote in part:
¡°An independent, impartial judiciary; the presumption of innocence; the right to a fair and public trial without undue delay; a rational and proportionate approach to punishment; a strong and independent legal profession; strict protection of confidential communications between lawyer and client; equality of all before the law; these are all fundamental principles of the Rule of Law. Accordingly, arbitrary arrests, secret trials; indefinite detention without trial; ....intimidation or corruption in the electoral process, are all unacceptable. The Rule of Law is the foundation of civilised society.¡±
We have made great economic strides but without (1) a strong stable fair government and (2) an equally fair and independent judiciary and (3) a legal profession committed to the rule of law that acts in the interest of society and its profession as a whole and is not politically motivated, all the progress and growth we have achieved and hope to continue to achieve will mean nothing.
Thankfully there are legal reforms such as the repeal of the Internal Security Act, the introduction of legislation allowing for the right for peaceful assembly, amendments to the Printing Presses and Publications Act, we appear to be moving in the right direction. We are now taking another look at the Death Penalty for capital offences and perhaps like Singapore will consider similar amendments to their Misuse of Drugs Act. All these reforms by the present government with the assistance of the relevant stakeholders in society are a move in the right direction but more can be done. Some of the legislation we have amended and repealed may need to be re-looked at as the initial amendments may not have achieved all that was initially intended. The positives to be taken are clear, progress under the present government is being made.
In addition, there has been significant progress in making Malaysia a center for (1) arbitration and (2) Islamic finance. In terms of arbitration, I believe that the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration under the leadership of its present Director has made significant progress in raising the profile of the center so as to ensure that foreign investor may have confidence in having their disputes settled in Malaysia outside of the court room. A lot more work needs to be done to compete with our closest neighbour, Singapore as the region¡¯s benchmark jurisdiction for arbitration but inroads are being made. I gather that the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration is the only arbitration centre to have in place arbitration rules to cater specifically for Islamic finance disputes. This in my view is significant given Malaysia¡¯s position as one of the world¡¯s leading jurisdictions for Islamic finance and banking.
In so far as Islamic Finance is concerned, Malaysia has expended a great deal of time and effort to ensure that it becomes Asia¡¯s Islamic Finance Hub. Islamic finance has continued to demonstrate its viability and competitiveness in this more liberalised and globalised financial environment. Since the late 1990s the Sukuk market has emerged as an important form of intermediation in Islamic finance. It has been instrumental in the financing structures for infrastructure projects, investments in the utilities sectors, in particular for water and power projects, and in the services sector, in education, healthcare and transportation.
Malaysia¡¯s Islamic capital market has experienced significant growth and raised the bar on a global level for product innovation and financial intermediation. This market comprises the Islamic equity sector and fixed income. Malaysia represents 64% of the global outstanding sukuk as at June 2012; with a total value exceeding USD161 billion according to a Bloomberg Report dated June 2012. Malaysia has a large Islamic equity market and IS home to 4 of the top 10 largest Shariah compliant companies in the world according to a PWC Report dated May 2012 entitled ¡°Gateway to Asia: Malaysia International Islamic Finance Hub¡±. More than 89% of the stocks listed on Bursa Malaysia, the national exchange, are classified as Shariah-compliant by the Shariah Advisory Council of the Securities Commission Malaysia. Apart from size, Malaysia¡¯s Islamic capital market also leads in innovation and sophistication. To fulfil market demand for diversification strategies, talents in this market structured innovative investable products such as the first Islamic real estate investment trust (I-REIT) and Asia¡¯s Islamic exchange traded fund (I-ETF).
I can do no better than draw on the words of the Governor of the Central Bank of Malaysia, Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz in delivering the Welcome Address at the Global Islamic Forum 2012 in Kuala Lumpur in September 2012 where she stated and I quote:
¡°The total Islamic financial assets size now has surpassed US$1 trillion ¨C following unabated growth from the mid-1990s. There are now more than 600 Islamic financial institutions operating in more than 75 countries with Malaysia being at the heart of this surge in Islamic finance¡±.
The future for Malaysia in this regard appears to be bright and I gather that some of these issues pertaining to Islamic finance and arbitration will be touched upon in greater detail during the course of the coming two days.
In so far as the legal system is concerned, the Judiciary under our current Chief Justice, Tun Arifin and his predecessor, Tun Ahmad Zaki has taken the initiative to pursue legal reforms, speed up hearings without seeking to compromise justice, put aside frivolous requests for postponements, appoint good judges who are not political proxies. Tun Arifin has in part today, told you about the legal reforms and development that has been undertaken here in Malaysia. It is clear that our judiciary is making positive moves in the right direction. Malaysia as a regional arbitration hub is something that is now looking significantly achievable and the local courts have in the past few years delivered numerous decisions which are indicative of a pro-arbitration policy. The same applies to the manner in which the courts have sought to deal with Islamic finance disputes.
However, I would like if I may, to say this to the Chief Justice, who I might add is from my State of Kelantan and the Chief Judge of Malaya who is also here ¡ª that they must continue to appoint men and women of integrity and intelligence to the BENCH regardless of race or religion. Tun Arifin and Tan Sri Zulkefli, you ought to consider calling on the legal eagles of the Bar, some of whom are here today, to do 'national service'. It is time these gentlemen and ladies ask themselves what they can do for their country. It is imperative that our judiciary consists of some of our country¡¯s brightest legal minds so that the jurisprudence in this country can grow along with the economic development that is taking place in Malaysia. Lawyers, aged 60 to 70 who are financially sound can serve for two to three years on the Bench. Their experience from dealing with complex commercial matters whilst practising as advocates and solicitors will be a boost to the judiciary and will provide a lending hand in helping to educate their brothers and sisters on the Bench from the legal and judicial service. I'm sure that these men and women will be happy just to receive an honorarium and a good healthcare plan for contributing to their nation. I believe that this is important.
In order for Malaysia to be a success, foreign investors must not only have confidence in the government but also in the legal system. Our neighbours across the causeway have been successful to a large extent in achieving this and we in Malaysia must endeavor to do the same.
To Lim Chee Wee, the President of the Malaysian Bar, it is important that this country has a strong Bar to act as a check and balance but as a Bar you must not forget your duties as provided under the Legal Profession Act. It is imperative that the Bar works in conjunction with the government, the attorney general¡¯s chambers and the judiciary to ensure that we have a strong and proud legal system. I would strongly urge you to take stock of what those members of the Bar who came before you, a few of whom are here today, sacrificed during the 1988 judicial crisis.
I would like to remind the legal profession and the Judiciary to never ever go back to the few years of Darkness in our country¡¯s history. My father, the then Sultan of Kelantan, Sultan Ismail Petra stood up for the Rule of Law. As his young Tengku Mahkota or Crown Prince, I proudly watched as my father stood his ground during the 1988 judicial crisis.
We shall not dwell on the past here today but we must learn from it so that the same mistakes will never be repeated. We must continually learn from our mistakes and build on our success in honour of the men and women of Malaysia who stood their ground for the good of their country during that difficult period.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have only scratched the surface in seeking to tell you as to why those of you from the legal fraternity and those of you from the corporate world should look on Asia especially South East Asia and in particular, Malaysia as THE PLACE to be - to do business and with the opening of our legal market scheduled for some time in 2013, perhaps an attractive new jurisdiction to practise law.
On a lighter note, as they say 'All work and No play makes Jack a dull boy and Jill a dull girl' so I hope after two hard days of deliberating, thinking, discussing and networking, you will find time to enjoy all the delights my country has to offer - warm hospitality, luxurious hotels, lovely beaches, good food both local and international. There are other destinations apart from Kuala Lumpur to 'chill out'. If you have the time, be adventurous; leave the hustle and bustle of cosmopolitan Kuala Lumpur. Make a trip to my state Kelantan - I offer you pristine beaches, great but cheap local food and possibly the most welcoming people of all Malaysians. The only thing I cannot promise is dry weather for this is the time of year when the rains visit us.
I sincerely hope the conference will be a huge success and you will encourage your corporate clients to look to Malaysia as a favourable jurisdiction to invest and do business and perhaps even come and live.
May I wish you a wonderful stay in Malaysia.