Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today commended Malaysia for “making great strides” in reducing poverty, adding that the country must share its experiences with the world to enhance development in other nations.
“Your experiences can help countries throughout the global South, and I urge Malaysia to look at how it can increase South-South cooperation,” Mr. Ban said in a speech at the Institute for Diplomacy and Foreign Relations in the capital, Kuala Lumpur.
In his remarks, Mr. Ban underlined that Malaysia has made remarkable progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – the globally agreed blueprint for halving extreme poverty, halting the spread of diseases, promoting access to education and improving health care – ahead of the 2015 deadline.
“Millions of people have been lifted from poverty. With such success comes responsibility. This is your chance to assume leadership,” he said, adding that the country must now focus on working on finding ways to achieve sustainable development economically, socially and environmentally.
In addition, during a joint press conference with Prime Minister Mohd Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, Mr. Ban praised the country for its efforts to maintain unity while respecting ethnic and religious diversity.
“Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural country. Promoting unity among diversity, promoting one Malaysia among Malaysians is a great vision, not only for the Malaysian people, but also for the region,” he said. “This is exactly what the United Nations tries to promote worldwide.”
Earlier in the day, Mr. Ban had met Prime Minister Razak with whom he discussed the Global Movement of the Moderates, which seeks to promote mutual understanding and raise tolerance towards different religions, cultures and traditions, as well as ways in which the UN can work with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
During his visit, which ended on Thursday, Mr. Ban also spoke at a peacekeeping training centre, where he lauded Malaysia’s contribution to UN peacekeeping operations, consisting of more than 20,000 troops to 25 operations since 1960.
“Malaysian personnel are now serving in some of the UN’s toughest missions – in Lebanon, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and beyond,” Mr. Ban said. “For that, we are eternally grateful.”
The peacekeeping centre in Malaysia has trained hundreds of international staff officers, military observers and peacekeeping instructors from various countries.