Ceremony Awarding Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad the Order of Friendship 2003-08-05 16:13:00 Putrajaya President Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, Ladies and gentlemen, Today I have the honour of awarding Prime Minister of Malaysia Mahathir Mohamad the Order of Friendship, a high state award of the Russian Federation. This award is testimony to Russia’s gratitude to Dr Mahathir’s achievements in strengthening the friendly ties between our two countries. It also recognises his work towards ensuring a world of stability and harmony between religions. You have headed your country’s government for over twenty years, and in that time you have done a great deal to develop bilateral cooperation between Malaysia and Russia. You have not only preserved the high level and friendly nature of our two countries’ relations, but have taken them to a new level. In Russia we are well informed about the progress Malaysia has made under your leadership. Dr Mahathir, in one of your books you mention that the twenty first century will become, “the global century,” the century of rapid, all-round development of the Asia-Pacific region. It looks as though, to a large extent thanks to your efforts, Malaysia has entered this century just as you said it would. We also greatly appreciate your contribution to developing the system of international relations, relations founded on a just distribution of the benefits offered by globalisation. In conclusion, I would like to present you with this high decoration, this Russian state award, and I wish you, Mr Prime Minister, all the very best – success, health, well-being and the prosperity to the Malaysian people, whom we count among our friends. Mahathir Mohamad: Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I consider this award a great honour not only for myself, but also for Malaysia as a whole. It is no secret that in recent times, relations between Malaysia and Russia have become considerably more active and friendlier. These relations are in keeping with Malaysia’s general policy of developing friendly relations with all states, regardless of their ideological or political policy. There was a time when Malaysia could not agree with what was happening in Russia. But today we think that Russia’s policy corresponds in many respects to the policy we ourselves are following. We hope and expect that Russia will play an important part in building a world that would not be threatening and frightening for small states such as Malaysia. A uni-polar world can lead to various violations and to incorrect steps. Russia believes in a multi-polar world, and Malaysia also shares these ideals. Your visit to Malaysia is a historic event, for this is the first time a Russian head of state has visited our country. We believe this visit will mark an important step towards even closer cooperation between Russia and Malaysia. We think that our relations will improve even further after this visit and will continue to develop in the economic sphere. This will benefit both our countries. I am grateful to you for this award, because it underlines the significance of the relations between Russia and Malaysia.