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Former Malaysian PM to speak at Victoria

31 October 2006

Former Malaysian PM to speak at Victoria

The former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad, is to deliver the 2006 Chair of Malay Studies Saad Lecture at Victoria University on November 7.

Dr Mahathir, who was Prime Minister from 1981 to 2003, will argue that the path to peaceful resolution of disputes is to criminalise war. Dr Mahathir has been privately involved in attempts to initiate peace talks with Islamic insurgents in Thailand’s Muslim-dominated southern provinces.

In a précis of his speech, Criminalise War—The Path to Peaceful Resolution, Dr Mahathir said the sanctioning of war, and the rights of the winner, encouraged nations to have strong military forces and to resort to war at the slightest excuse.

“There will never be peace until winners and losers are tried for their crimes by neutral countries and punished. We must banish war as an option in the settlement of disputes and conflicts between nations.”

This year’s Saad Lecture celebrates the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Chair of Malay Studies in Victoria University’s School of Asian & European Languages & Cultures. The Chair, which is currently held by Professor Ungku Maimunah Mohd Tahir, was established in 1996 when Dr Mahathir was Prime Minister of Malaysia, with the assistance of the Malaysian Government, Renong, and a number of New Zealand companies including New Zealand Post. The Saad Lecture was established through an endowment by Tan Sri Datuk Halim Saad, a Victoria graduate, the Chairman of the Saad Foundation.

Professor Maimunah said the University was pleased to be able to host a speaker of Dr Mahathir’s calibre.

“Dr Mahathir led one of the world’s most populous Muslim countries for more than 20 years, and played a significant role in the country’s rapid modernisation and its transformation into a prosperous and self-confident nation. He has been outspoken in his support of Asian and Islamic values and I look forward to learning of his insights into the complex issues of war and peace.”

The 2006 Saad Lecture will be held in Lecture Theatre 1, Rutherford House, Lambton Quay, Pipitea Campus, Victoria University, on Tuesday 7 November at 6pm.

Media are welcome to attend the lecture but must register their interest with Antony.Paltridge@vuw.ac.nz or phone 04 463 5873 by November 6.

ENDS

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