Speeches
  At a dinner held in honour of Mr.Lee Kuan Yew.  
  18 November 2006  
     
 

Your Excellency Minister Mentor, 
Distinguished guests, 

Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are most pleased to receive you and your delegation in Kuwait, the country that somewhat resembles your country Singapore, which has presented the world today with many lessons on how a small country may achieve economic, political and social success attributed to a wise and bold leadership such as yours. It transformed Singapore from a third world country to a first, by hard work and strong belief in what people can achieve.

It is with much content that I recall my visit to your country in November 1990 during which, Kuwait was under an evil occupier. The brave and integral stance you took in supporting Kuwait, and the warm reception I received from you and your government reinforced the principle position you believed and still believe in; that is the love of peace and security for all nations. The visit to your country is fixed in my mind and that of the Kuwaiti delegation.

Hence, in Kuwait, we are resolved to achieving positive results in developing our country economically and politically, through the noble desire of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad the Amir of Kuwait, whom outlined the fundamentals of developing Kuwait economically to keep abreast with the rest of the world, and to provide prosperity and sustainable development for its people. Here lie the similarities between our country and yours. 

Dear friends, Distinguished guests,
I read with interest and fascination the memoirs you published "From the third world to the first: The Singapore Story", subsequently, as you are aware they were published in Arabic and other numerous languages. They contain accounts with significant meaning and great lessons for the world; represented in the determination of men, like you, to endure hardships and confront challenges in order to realize your convictions. All this was possible, in the framework of belief in your people and their right to live in peace and prosperity. Today, Singapore enjoys a sophisticated economic life and political stability rarely equalled in other countries. 

The resemblance does not end here, we also endured considerable tribulations and struggled to rid ourselves of an ugly aggressive neighbour, it was by the virtue and resolve of the people of Kuwait, and the guidance and farsighted wisdom of our political leadership that men and women were able (praise be to Allah) to face those ordeals just as you had.
Singapore's beginnings on the long road to stability and development, which you presented successfully, is consistent with the beginnings here in Kuwait in the early sixties. Our fathers were determined that Kuwait should gain independence and compile a modern constitution that would regulate its general affairs; we adhere to this constitution in order to safeguard our prosperity and fulfil the objectives we have set towards achieving development and stability. Respecting the constitution and implementing its laws is the most important pillar in establishing security and development, provided the law is flexible and serves the people as well as realising their aspirations.

Allow me finally, to quote a phrase by Mrs. Margaret Thatcher our mutual friend who said and I quote: "In office, I read and analysed every speech of Lee's. He had a way of penetrating the fog of propaganda and expressing with unique clarity the issues of our times and the way to tackle them. He was never wrong". End of quote.

Today, we are very much in need of penetrating, once again, the fog of propaganda, in the interest of our peoples and in a climate of determination to catch up with the times and continue on the path of development in the interest of mankind and our citizens. 

I welcome you once again on behalf of Kuwait as a guest and a friend, and in appreciation of your huge efforts in serving your country and humanity.

 
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