By Genalyn Kabiling
There will be no development and prosperity in a country if there will be conflict and wars, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Thursday
Mahathir made the pitch for peace to foster growth as he offered Malaysia’s continued assistance to Mindanao during the state banquet hosted by President Duterte in Malacanang.
“We know that such insurgencies only weaken nations. Only peace brings about wealth and prosperity,” the visiting Malaysian leader said in his remarks.
“As long as (they) resort to conflicts and war, there will be no development. And because there will be no development in a certain area, there will be disparities between different areas. And this, of course, stands in the way of good governance as well as the development of the country,” he said.
While he welcomed the success of the Bangsamoro peace process, Mahathir assured Duterte that Malaysia will continue to work with the Philippines to address lingering problems in the south.
“We expect that we can extend any help that we may be able to extend to resolve some of the problems faced in the south of the Philippines island — in Mindanao,” he said.
“To the extent that we can be useful, we are always ready to work with our neighbors in order to resolve problems which in a way, of course, affect us as well.
“It is important that we become very concerned and we will be ready to be of help in solving this problem if it is within our means,” he added.
Mahathir also hailed the attainment of peace in Mindanao, saying the people have a reason to celebrate. He earlier congratulated Duterte on the ratification of the law on Bangsamoro autonomous region and the appointment of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority.
“I am glad to say that this prolonged struggle has now ended with peace and now the people of Mindanao have cause to celebrate as much as the people in the rest of the Philippines. The achievement of something that was nearly impossible before,” he said.
“Now there is peace in Mindanao and there is a form of relationship between the different parts of the Philippines which augur well — augur well for the development and growth of the Philippines,” he said.
Mahathir likewise hailed the good relations between the Philippines and Malaysia, saying they have overcome any conflict and kept “a very high level of friendship.”
“We can enhance the relationship between our two countries and we can benefit the growth of both countries,” he added.
As the two nations agreed to deepen economic cooperation, Mahathir said he was glad that the Philippines is now “growing at a faster rate than before.”
“We would like to be of some use to the Philippines in terms of exchanges of experiences, exchanges of ideas, exchanges of information so that we both — both countries can benefit from the close relationship between Malaysia and the Philippines,” he said.