20 October 2017, Istanbul-Turkey
Statement by the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia at the 9th D-8 Summit on 20 October 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey
His Excellency Recep Tayyip Erdogan 
President of the Republic of Turkey 
Honourable Heads of State/Government 
His Excellency Dr. Seyed Ali Mohammad Mousavi
Secretary-General of D-8 
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, 
Let me begin by expressing my sincere appreciation to you, Mr. Chairman, and the Government of Turkey for the warm hospitality extended to me and my delegation during our stay in this beautiful city. 

2. I would like to congratulate Turkey as it assumes the Chairmanship of D-8 and for convening this Summit which coincides with the 201h Anniversary of our Organisation. I would like to assure you of Malaysia's full support and cooperation. 

3. I would also like to congratulate Pakistan for its successful stewardship of D-8 since assuming the Chair in 2012. I commend the dedication shown by Pakistan in steering the Organisation towards achieving its objectives. 

4. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank His Excellency Dr. Seyed Ali Mohammad Mousavi for his dedication and leadership of the D-8 Secretariat for the past five years. 

Mr. Chairman, 
5. Based on the principle of rotation, Malaysia will assume the post of Secretary General of D-8 on 1 January 2018 for the next four years. In this connection, it is with great pleasure that I introduce Dato' Ku Jaafar Ku Shaari as the incoming Secretary General of D-8. 

6. Dato' Ku Jaafar is a former Malaysian diplomat who has served the Malaysian Government with distinction. He last served as Malaysia's Ambassador to Egypt. 

Mr. Chairman, 
7. The Developing 8 Organisation for Economic Cooperation or D-8 has vast potential for development given the rich natural resources of its member states, diversified human capital and a large market of over one billion people. 

8. Although GDP growth of the eight countries have slowed down in 2015 to 3.8 per cent, the average rate of growth is expected to show a better performance at around 4.2 per cent in 2016, and is expected to consolidate to 4.5 per cent in 2017. 

9. While the economic growth of D-8 countries is small, it nevertheless has the potential to achieve higher growth levels given D-8's economic potency. 

10. However, to achieve this, more must be done. Expanding and deepening cooperation among us will bring about greater opportunities as advocated in the theme of this Summit - "Expanding Opportunities through Cooperation". 

11. As an organization that espouses economic cooperation in improving the livelihoods of our peoples, we must continue to strengthen trade relations under the D-8 framework as trade is the engine of growth and development. 

12. The D-8 Preferential Trade Agreement (D-8 PTA) is an important tool to promote greater trade and economic cooperation. Through lower  tariff concessions, removal of non-tariff barriers and harmonizing regulations for goods among D-8 countries, we would be able to reap the benefits of greater market access for goods and services, and increase employment opportunities. 

13. In this regard, it is my hope that intra trade will increase with the implementation of the D-8 PTA, which came into effect on 1 July 2016. 

Mr. Chairman, 
14. Tourism, a D-8 priority area of cooperation provides clear and direct economic benefits. Tourism and its multiplier effect increase the economic value of this industry. According to the World Tourism Organisation, receipts earned by tourist destinations worldwide have surged from USO 495 billion in 2000 to USO 1.2 trillion in 2016. 

15. Tourism is the second highest revenue earner for Malaysia, bringing in an estimated USO 19.5 billion in 2016. The income generated from tourism has contributed to diversifying Malaysia's economy, while providing economic opportunities for its people. 

16. Thus, Malaysia is of the view that we should give greater emphasis and invest more in the tourism sector. We should invest in better infrastructure and improve connectivity as tourism and its multiplier effect can bring greater economic benefits to 0-8 countries. 

17 Additionally, 0-8 countries have a rich cultural and historical heritage. Our diverse geographic attractions have the potential to make us the preferred tourist destinations. At the same time, we must invest in developing human capital and promotional efforts to support this massive industry in order to achieve the desired impact. 

18. Recognising this potential, Malaysia will be organising the Second D-8 Tourism Ministers Meeting in Kuala Lumpur from 10 - 13 April 2018. 
We hope to bring together all eight D-8 Ministers of Tourism to deliberate and discuss a comprehensive tourism strategy and a road map to enhance this important sector. 

Mr. Chairman, 
19. Allow me to share with you Malaysia's grave concern regarding the situation of the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. I had the opportunity to visit a refugee camp on 16 October 2017 in Kutupalong, Cox's Bazaar in Bangladesh. The Rohingya refugees were living in dire conditions. 

20. We call upon D-8 member states to render assistance in whatever way they can to alleviate the suffering of the Rohingyas. In this regard, I commend Bangladesh for their noble efforts in providing 'Shelter to the Rohingya refugees. Malaysia will set-up a 50-bed field hospital in Cox's
Bazaar to provide medical relief to Rohingya refugees. The hospital will be operational within a month of the date of my visit. 

21. At the same time, the Rohingyas in Rakhine State continue to suffer due to injustice. The Myanmar Government must ensure unimpeded access for humanitarian access to reach those in need. 

22. We believe that the implementation of the recommendations in the Report of the Rakhine Advisory Commission relating to the socio­ economic development aspects would improve the socio-economic situation of the Rohingya community. However, this is only possible if  there is political stability. 

Mr. Chairman, 
22. This Summit will be adopting two outcome documents namely, The Istanbul Declaration and the D-8 Istanbul Plan of Action that have been extensively discussed and debated by our senior officials. I am confident the two documents will guid¥ the work of the D-8 towards achieving the goals and objectives of our Organisation. 
Thank you. 

  
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