1. I thank my hosts, the Financial Reporting Foundation and the Malaysian Accounting Standards Board for inviting me to be here today.
My early career years were at Coopers Lybrand. Therefore the pleasure of being here today is both personal and professional. I am honoured and delighted to deliver the keynote address today to this impressive gathering of influential standard setters and policy-makers from around the world.
Malaysia is honoured and proud to host the inaugural Asian Oceanian Standard Setters Group (AOSSG) meeting. I understand a total of 23 countries are represented here this morning, including members of the International Accounting Standards Board and its chairman Sir David Tweedie. Welcome Sir David. I also warmly welcome Mr. Liu Yu Ting, the Director-General of the Ministry of Finance, The People’s Republic of China. We are delighted to have you with us.
Ladies and Gentlemen
2. The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has been has been tireless in its pursuance of excellence in setting global accounting standards. Nonetheless, I believe that due to the differences in our business structures, norms and practices from the developed economies, it is necessary the views and perspectives of our region is carried with equivalent weight to those that traditionally come from the G8 and other developed countries.
3. The meeting here in Kuala Lumpur is an important process to ensure that the voice of the peoples of Asia is represented effectively at the global stage. We have greater leverage as a multi-lateral entity than if we were to act alone.
4. Of course, the diversity of nationalities and cultures within the Asia is wide. But within our differences, we share many affinities. Our political and economic conditions and challenges are similar. We are aligned in many ways. It is in this spirit of kinship and brotherhood that we converge here today to shape our many voices into one.
Ladies and gentlemen
5. The world has changed much in the last twenty four months. The mighty Breton Woods institutions that arose from the ashes of World War II, for example, are going through unprecedented processes of reformation. The balance of global power is shifting in front of our very eyes. History is in the making.
6. We must be grateful to be alive at this juncture of history. Just as the first decade of the last century laid the foundations for the next ninety years, I believe the dynamics that circulate us now will set pace the changes that will fundamentally impact the course of global affairs for a long time to come.
7. There has never been at anytime in the progress of mankind that the peoples of nations of less fortunate circumstances have a greater voice in the affairs of the world. We are fortunate for we are able to influence the course of history. We must seize this moment to ensure this voice is sustained, amplified and eventually bring good to all.
8. A new world will indeed emerge at the end of this cataclysmic crisis. The turbulent early decade of the twenty-first century is our equivalent, a hundred years ago, of the First World War. Only that this time around, the impact will be truly global. The advancement of technology will drive changes at a speed that most political-states will struggle to keep up. Homogeneous values that define cultures and nationalities will be challenged. Heterogeneous blocks of tribal behavioral patterns will emerge, cutting across national boundaries.
9. A youth in urban Kuala Lumpur will have more in common with another in Beijing, more than his own relatives in rural northern Malaysia. Just as the elite ivory towers of Europe transformed the cultural and political landscape of the post-colonial world in the first half of the twentieth century, ICT will have, at least, just as a profound impact on the formation of thoughts and values in all developing and emerging countries within the next several decades. There will be greater convergence between us, the peoples of the non-OECD countries. We will have greater empowerment.
10. Against this backdrop, there are already early rumblings of a seismic shift in the global economic balance of power. History has demonstrated us that with economic security, comes the demand of political franchise. The economies of Asia are recovering well from the global economic crisis that began a year ago. Our engines of growth have proven to be resilient. It is estimated that the aggregate GDP growth for ASEAN, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea would rise from 3.0% this year to 6.0% in 2010 .
11. The global balance of economic power is shifting. The economic influence of the G8 countries are now being over-shadowed by the G20. The global finance, trade and commerce patterns will change. The United States will need to save more while China’s domestic consumption will move further up its trajectory path. We anticipate that there will be a perceptible shift in the destination of our goods away from our traditional trading partners nearer to our shores, to our neighbours in Asia. A new multi-polar world will emerge.
12. There is no doubt that there will be greater integration and increased inter-linkages within the Asian region. ASEAN will see a free trade area established by 2015. There are in addition a multitude of bilateral free trade agreements. All these will result in a greater flow of trade and investment crossing our respective borders. It is with these thoughts in mind that we wish to see our viewpoints reflected in the AISB’s global standards.
13. Malaysia holds an ambition to achieve the status of a high income nation by the year 2020. In pursuant of this objective, the Government is setting the stage to embark on a new economic model in which the services sector will contribute at least 60% to the national GDP. We wish to build an economy of knowledge and innovation. We wish to see our services and higher value-added manufacturing sector dominate our export earnings.
14. In this regard, the pursuance of cross-investments from within and without will need to be at a greater pace. In this competitive landscape, the maintenance of confidence is primary. The adherence to established standards set within an internationally-ratified set of benchmarks creates and strengthens confidence.
We will continuously enhance Malaysia’s reputation as a country where businesses flourish. We will strengthen our standards of corporate governance and transparency requirements. We will strengthen the investor as well as the general public’s confidence in all our private, public and quasi-government organizations and institutions. This Government will see this through.
Ladies and gentlemen
15. A multi-polar world would require bargaining and counter-bargaining in all negotiations of global import. It is for this reason that we need enlightened global leadership, a new kind of leadership that recognises the aspirations and needs of the lesser nations. This leadership may not necessarily be in the form and substance of the traditional superpower. It may very well be a conglomeration of empowered leaders of various sizes, each contributing different yet complimentary perspectives towards a universal solution.
16. I am confident that this first meeting of the Asian Oceanian Standard-Setters Group will fulfill its mandated role as a leader. The convergence of standards across national jurisdictions will have significant economic and political effects for adopting countries, including sovereignty rights and issues. Whatever your deliberations are, it all must lead to the one single fundamental reason why we are here - that we bring greater and sustainable economic benefits to each and every individual national jurisdiction, improving the lives of the many millions. We are, after all, only here on their behalf.
17. would like to take this opportunity to commend the Financial Reporting Foundation and the Malaysia Accounting Standards Board for organizing this important conference. As an authoritative national body, its performance has been exemplary.
18. Today’s ceremony would also not have been possible if not for the earnest efforts of YBhg. Dato’ Zainal Abidin Puteh and his team, who has been instrumental in bring this Meeting to Kuala Lumpur. Thank you, Dato’.
19. To those who have been here before, welcome home and to those whose visit here is for the first time, please do find time to explore this beautiful country of ours. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you.
Penafian:- Kerajaan Malaysia dan Kementerian Kewangan adalah tidak bertanggungjawab bagi apa-apa kehilangan atau kerugian yang disebabkan oleh penggunaan mana-mana maklumat yang diperolehi dari laman web ini. Syarikat-syarikat yang dirujuk dalam laman web ini tidak boleh dianggap sebagai agen ataupun syarikat yang disyorkan oleh Kementerian Kewangan.