BANGKOK (Bernama): Asean has yet to get its due credit as the only regional organisation that has been sustainable and with tremendous potential, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
With a population of more than 600 million people, he said there is always a good market that could support local industries.
"I think that if we work together, we can benefit from this 600 million population, at the same time, we will not be duplicating things, we can distribute the industries among ourselves," he said.
"The relationship between the member countries of Asean has been very good because we are able to resolve problems within us in a peaceful manner, " he added.
"So, Asean has remained as a very stable and peaceful region in the world and I think that we have to appreciate this fact because many regions in the world are not doing well today," he said, adding that there were problems in North America, Europe, Middle East and many other places.
When asked if education could be the pillar in eradicating poverty in Asean especially looking at the fact there were still people from the member states who could not afford private education, he said there were still many opportunities available.
“Asean countries are low-cost countries and hence anything done in these countries will not be a burden for the people in the respective countries and also the poor from other countries.
"As you can see, we have people from other countries, from Africa, Middle East and elsewhere coming to Malaysia because the cost of education in Malaysia is much cheaper than in European countries or Western countries,” he added.
So in this way, Dr Mahathir said, member states not only can be of help to their own people but also people coming from poorer countries.
Dr Mahathir was speaking to a press conference after receiving an honorary doctorate degree in social leadership, business and politics from Rangsit University here on Sunday (Dec 16). - Bernama