KUALA LUMPUR: Muslim countries must be strong and independent so that they can resist foreign interference in their affairs, said Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday (Dec 19).
He said some foreign countries want to see Muslim countries fight each other, so that they will never be strong.
“There will always be interference from other countries,” he said during a question-and-answer session at the Kuala Lumpur Summit.
“All the big powers want to influence whatever that is happening in our countries. But it’s for us to resist. And for us to resist, we have to be strong and independent.”
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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also participated in the discussion.
Dr Mahathir, who is also KL Summit chairman, pointed out that dependency on powerful countries for funds, for example, also render dependent countries vulnerable to external influence.
“What we’re seeing today is too much dependence on these powerful countries for funds, for equipment, for our lives in fact. In order to be independent, we should resist the influence of foreign countries which intend to see us fight each other so that we can never be strong,” he said.
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On another note, Dr Mahathir called on Islamic nations to resolve problems or conflicts through negotiation and arbitration or even the court of law.
He said resorting to violence, such as starting a war, would never resolve problems as such a move would only result in death and destruction.
“It’s far better to have discussions. If you consider all of us Muslims as brothers, the better way to settle (any dispute) is to negotiate in a calm manner and not allow our emotions, our feelings to influence us to the point that we can’t see reason at all.
“We should refuse to fight and go to war but instead negotiate and arbitrate,” Dr Mahathir said.
To another question, Dr Mahathir said the KL Summit would contribute towards closer bilateral cooperation among participating countries, including in the fields of education, science and business.