First of all, let me, on behalf of the World Islamic Economic Forum and all who are present here, to thank you, Mr. President as well as the Government and the people of Indonesia for hosting this 5th conference here in this beautiful and vibrant city of Jakarta.
To his Excellencies, our foreign dignitaries, we would like to thank you with a huge “Terima Kasih”, especially since your presence has added prestige and a very much appreciated encouragement to all.
May I also take the opportunity of this occasion to extend our special thanks and tribute to Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for never failing to attend each and every one of our conference since its inception. It was you, sir, who was instrumental in the birth of the WIEF and we will be ever grateful for it. May we wish you happy retirement, sir!
5 years of age for an institution like ours is, realistically, hardly the stage of infancy. Yet during the 5 years, the world has been bedazzled by so many shocks and surprises that only history would judge us to where humanity is heading. When you, Mr. President, very kindly personally conveyed your invitation to me for the WIEF to hold this conference, the economic concerns then were related to energy and food security. Between then and now though, energy does not seem to be of much concern, judged by the slide in petroleum price and food security also seems to be occupying less so on our radar screens.
A challenge of enormous proportion has now emerged in the nature of the current economic crisis that seems to bedevil the world where no one is able to escape from. As never before, the world is in crisis. And as never before, leaderships of the whole world are being tested, since the real test of leadership after all is in time of crisis.
Nobody in this whole wide world seems to be able to find the perfect solution as yet on how to face and overcome the crisis. The ones whom we had looked up to as being so successful and to be emulated have proven to be really the ones who had started the route to disaster from so early on, even when their models and examples were promoted for us to adopt.
As greed and fraudulent exposures emerged, we are in a state of shock, disbelief and confusion. Our gurus have obviously failed us, in theory and in practice. Every day and every hour we hear of the causes and the reasons for such a mess the world is in.
We are certainly going to hear more during our forthcoming two days of discussions. The causes and effects have much been talked about. As to who started what and how have also been much talked about.
What I personally hope for, as much as all my colleagues in the WIEF hope for at this 5th WIEF, are ideas on solutions in the form of action, firstly, as immediate steps and, secondly, the long term steps. Perhaps, for the long term steps, may I venture to suggest that we must focus on the young and the women through education and training as indeed the WIEF is trying to promote. The women and the young have always been the innocent victims in any time or any type of crisis. If they go astray and are misguided, we surely will be lost forever and, of course, humanity would reach a dead end!
Let us get to work then! May Allah bless us all.