San Francisco, September 24, 2013 — On the evening of September 23, Asia Foundation president and World Affairs Council trustee David D. Arnold moderated a dynamic and thought-provoking discussion following remarks by the Prime Minister of Malaysia Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib on “Malaysia: A Window to Asia” in a program co-organized by The Commonwealth Club and The World Affairs Council of Northern California.
“Asia’s development model will be of global significance,” said Prime Minister Najib as he addressed a distinguished audience at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel. Prime Minister Najib provided Malaysia’s perspective on the rise of Asia, expanding on issues of economic development, sustainable growth, corruption and conflict, energy, and education.
“I believe in Asia’s potential to create opportunities for all rather than for a few,” Prime Minister Najib stated. “Over the past decade, great change has come and even greater change awaits.”
At the reception, Asia Foundation president David D. Arnold remarked on the importance of economic growth that is sustainable – a pillar of the Foundation’s work across the region.
Moderated by Mr. Arnold, the Prime Minister answered questions from the audience of Bay Area political, civic, and business leaders, on Malaysia’s economic transformation; the country’s influence in moderating conflict and reform in neighboring regions; its highly-anticipated high-speed rail project; and the future of Malaysian youth and education.
Prime Minister Najib was appointed as Malaysia’s sixth Prime Minister on April 3, 2009. Under his premiership, the nation has embarked on a journey of transformation within Malaysia’s multi-racial, multi-religious context. The cornerstone is his 1Malaysia initiative, which emphasizes national unity. Prime Minister Najib has also launched the Government Transformation Programme to improve the quality of public services, increase efficiency and make the government more transparent, and the Economic Transformation Programme to elevate the country to developed-nation status by 2020, targeting a GNI per capita of US $15,000. This will be achieved by attracting US $444 billion in investments which will, in turn, create 3.3 million new jobs.
The Asia Foundation in Malaysia supports Malaysia’s economic goal in its work to strengthen the business environment, provide opportunities for underprivileged girls, improve security in vulnerable regions, bolster Malaysia’s international development cooperation, enhance the country’s electoral integrity and public accountability, and engage young Malaysians on politics, current issues, and civic and social involvement.