Heritage: Dr M can be honest broker

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003

WASHINGTON: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad can play an effective role as an “honest broker” in finding solutions to difficult issues, especially in the Islamic world where he is respected, said Heritage Foundation president Edwin J. Feulner. 

The former prime minister could open the channels of communication with countries like Sudan and Yemen “where we (the United States) have serious problems,” he said in an interview. 

“He could do very well in those areas – he’s a man of immense talents and capabilities. I don’t think he’ll just go horseback riding or book writing after his retirement,” said Fuelner, who met Dr Mahathir in New York in October. 

On Dr Mahathir’s record as prime minister, Fuelner described him as a “world-class leader who has made every Malaysian I know very proud to be a Malaysian; more than other countries in Asia I have been to.” 

“He has played a historic role in nation-building and united his disparate population in a short time. 

“My one criticism of Dr Mahathir is his rhetoric towards the outside world. His last speech (at the OIC) did not leave a good taste in the mouth here in the West,” he said. 

“His achievements were unfortunately overshadowed by his very offensive language at the 10th OIC summit – it made a lot of people forget his success.” 

But Feulner, who admires Dr Mahathir, said “he’ll be seen as one of the great leaders in East Asia.” 

On the new prime minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Fuelner said: “He is very different in terms of temperament; a firm, fair and dignified leader who is likely to build on the base built by Dr Mahathir and keep the momentum going in the right direction.” 

The Heritage Foundation, a think tank founded in 1973, promotes conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government and a strong national defence. – Bernama 

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