Malaysian PM calls for Islamic tech cooperation

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has urged Muslim countries worldwide to cooperate on technological advances which will help shield their citizens from the negative aspects of globalization and free information flow.

“Globalization need not mean a borderless world – the borders could still be there and should be respected,” Mahathir said at a seminar, “The Impact of Globalization on the Islamic World,” in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, the government news agency Berita Nasional Malaysia (Bernama) reported.

Although information can currently cross borders unrestricted because of modern technology, Muslims could develop software and even hardware to filter out some of the “dirt” which came with the information, Mahathir said, according to the Bernama report.

To achieve this, Muslims must be open and forward-looking. Muslims have to accept and practice alien ideologies, concepts and values, and try to understand globalization, Mahathir said, according to the report.

“Understanding this, we must prepare ourselves not only to fend off dangers but to make use of globalization so as to catch up with the developed countries in both information technology and industrial capacity,” he said, reported Bernama.

This was necessary because advocates of globalization included the world’s biggest companies, capable of pressuring small countries into changing legislation in favor of globalization, and perhaps dominating them. Muslim governments have a duty to ensure that globalization would not result in the marginalization of their countries as happened with the Industrial Revolution and Industrial Age, Mahathir said, according to the Bernama report.

“We cannot afford it this time. If once we miss the opportunity to keep pace with the radical and rapid advances now being made with technology and the sciences, the changes they cause to the world’s perceptions of things, the new ideas and concept in human and international relations; if we miss all these and fail to handle them then we will not only be marginalized, but we will be dominated and hegemonized permanently,” he said.