PM Najib calls on Muslim leaders to reject foreign intervention

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak talks to the media beside Indonesia's President Joko Widodo after a bilateral meeting at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta.
Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak talks to the media beside Indonesia's President Joko Widodo after a bilateral meeting at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta.PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Tuesday (Aug 2) called on Muslim leaders to reject foreign intervention and those who, "out of political motivation", call for foreign powers to intervene in their own country.

Speaking at the World Islamic Economic Forum, Datuk Seri Najib said foreign intervention in Muslim countries has led to "intended and unintended consequences", such as chaos and destruction in Iraq, Syria and Libya, and the possible break up of these nation states.

By comparison, Muslim-majority countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia, which are not subjected to foreign intervention, have remained "oases of peace and stability", he added.

"We have seen the devastating results of foreign intervention in the Muslim world, often based on incomplete, wrong or partisan information. We must make clear that we reject it," he added.

Mr Najib was addressing 2,500 business leaders and officials from more than 100 countries at the three-day forum, which kicked off on Tuesday in Jakarta. The event is to promote Islamic tourism and halal food and products, among other things.

Mr Najib said while leaders must work to resolve their problems and issues together, they must also insist on respect for their own sovereignty, laws, and democratically-elected governments.

He noted that the Islamic world faces the threat of terrorists who blaspheme Islam, and called on Muslim-majority countries to condemn the militant Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Several other world leaders, including Indonesian President Joko Widodo and the country’s newly-minted Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, also made opening remarks at the conference.

Mr Joko said syariah finance is a multi-trillion-dollar global industry and Islamic business sectors such as in fashion, culinary and the arts and architecture are also growing rapidly and have “a huge potential" to create a new international economy. But he warned Muslim societies of “huge challenges” such as high unemployment, especially among youths.   

“In many societies, we are... unable to integrate well with others. We are not yet as powerful in media, in social media, in technology. Therefore, we are not winning the battle for perception and if we do not educate our people, if we do not train our people, the world will leave us behind,” he added.

aarlina@sph.com.sg