Ambassador of Malaysia to the Republic of Yemen H.E. Abdullah Faiz Zain
Shares his thoughts on the 22nd anniversary of Yemen’s unification with the National Yemen
It has been 3 weeks since I arrived in Sana’a. On May 2, 2012, I presented my credentials to His Excellency President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi. During the ceremony, President Hadi expressed satisfaction with the state of bilateral relations and expressed the hope that Malaysia would participate in Yemen’s economic reconstruction. Relations between Malaysia and Yemen have always been warm and friendly. This is not only due to our common Islamic heritage – but we have always endeavoured to work together bilaterally and multilaterally. There is a need to lift our relations to new and more meaningful, substantive levels and heights.
I also had the opportunity to call on His Excellency, Dr. Abu Bakr Abdullah al-Qirbi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Yemen and His Excellency, professor Yahia M. Al-Shaibi, Minister of Higher Education & Scientific Research. Among others, both Ministers reiterated the hope that cooperation, particularly in the field of education, could be further enhanced.
In this regard, I am pleased to inform you that Dato’ Sri Anifah Aman, Malaysia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, will be attending the ‘Friends of Yemen’ conference to be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on May, 2012.
Since my arrival, I have had the opportunity to visit the Old City of Sana’a, a magnificent and historical tribute to the glory of Yemen. I have seen the people, the young and the old, the men and the women. I toured the University of Sana’a and saw the youth contemplating their country’s future. I have spoken to diplomats and businessmen alike and the majority are confident that Yemen will be able to overcome its economic difficulties and become a success story in the Middle East.
Short though my vist here was, I see a great future for Yemen. With the election of President Hadi last February, it has been a peaceful transition to a new Yemen. The Yemenis have spoken and chosen a President who has shown great wisdom, tenacity and vision in efforts to put Yemen on a firmer footing. The President has a challenging task ahead, but he needs the support of all Yemenis from all spheres of life. The President has taken one of the many first steps towards national reconciliation and dialogue. For the Government to be effective, the people must be united as one to face the challenges of a new Yemen. Yemen has enormous potential, not only in terms of natural wealth and resources, but based also on its well-educated, young population, men and women alike.
To achieve economic development is not easy and rosy – as the Malaysian experience has shown. There are bound to be difficulties and setbacks, but these are not insurmountable. Hard work, determination, proper planning and execution are the keys to achieving economic development and prosperity. Malaysia is ready to share its experience in economic development and nation-building with Yemen.
The private sector also has a role to play in nation-building. The private sector has to be strong and dynamic, robust and self-reliant, and competent and honest to contribute to the economic well-being of Yemen and its people. The private sector must be engaged in full partnership with the government in national economic development to further increase productivity and efficiency levels. The private sector could be the engine of growth for the nation’s economic development.
Malaysia is ready to assist Yemen in its transition towards reconstructing the country for the benefit and prosperity of the Yemeni people. Malaysia would like to offer its modest assistance and share in the nation-building experience through capacity-building, particularly in the area of education.
Malaysia has a Vision 2020 implemented by our former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammad. His Vision was to transform Malaysia into a fully-developed country in our own mould by the year 2020.
Similarly, Yemen has a Strategic Vision through 2025 to transform itself into a nation confident in itself, developed and progressive, yet retaining its traditional and Islamic values.Yemen has the capacity and the resources to meet the challenges and bring back the glory it had 2,500 years ago as the center of trade in the Middle East. Yemen should not allow this unique opportunity to meet the challenges of the 21st century to be lost.
Malaysia is fast becoming the ‘Center of Excellence for Higher Education’ in the region. In this respect, Malaysia would like to encourage more students from Yemen to pursue their studies in Malaysia. There are about 6,000 Yemenis currently studying in Malaysia, which is said to be the largest such number for Yemenis studying overseas. Malaysia has extended technical assistance through its ‘Prosper-Thy-Neighbour’ rather than ‘Beget-Thy-Neighbour’ policies implemented through the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme. To date, 267 Yemenis have benefitted from various programmes implemented under the MTCP.
I take this opportunity on behalf of the Government and the People of Malaysia to extend my sincere congratulations and felicitations on the 22nd Anniversary of Yemen’s National Day on May 22, 2012, and to peace, progress and prosperity for the Government and the People of Yemen.