VOTE OF THANKS BY
THE HON. TUN MUSA HITAM,
CHAIRMAN, WIEF FOUNDATION
THE 5TH WIEF ROUNDTABLE
20 MARCH 2012
HOTEL RADISSION, DHAKA BANGLADESH
– Distinguished Speakers,
– Members of the media,
– Ladies and Gentlemen,
• We have come to the end of the 5th WIEF Roundtable.
• I must say that the discussions have been thought provoking, exciting, and inspiring. There have been many points of view, many questions answered; most of them were difficult questions.
• The discussions that took place today, gave all of us at the WIEF Foundation a sense that we had achieved our goals by providing a platform to encourage the discourse of issues of importance to the region.
• I do not intend to provide summations of the Roundtable dialogue or of the valuable presentations and opinions expressed at the three Sessions.
• The WIEF Secretariat would undertake careful analysis and consult various parties to ascertain the bridging role that we could play on some of the brilliant ideas and issues dissected over the Roundtable.
• I also urge everyone here to mull over what was discussed and find ways to play a proactive role to implement some of the strategies raised.
Session 1: “Regional Cooperation to Combat Climate Change:
The Way Forward”
• There have been discussions to push forward the proposal to form a Regional Task Force on Climate Change. The proposal is quite timely in light of ADB’s report indicating Bangladesh’s delicate situation with regard to the economic and social impact of climate change
• It would be crucial that any regional initiative on this important issue to include the participation of the private sector and civil society. This would ensure the buy-in of the public to any measures put forth for any government.
Session 2: “Islamic Micro Finance: An Instrument for Poverty Alleviation”
• It is also important to explore the possibility of introducing Islamic concept of micro finance and the institutionalisation of zakat as an alternative to the conventional form of microfinance as an instrument of poverty alleviation
• Islamic Banks in the Region and IDB can assist Micro Finance Institutions/NGO’s in Bangladesh to introduce Islamic Micro finance on a larger scale and by the institutionalisation of Zakat.
Session 3: “Private Higher Education: Creating World Class Institutions through Regional Cooperation”
• It is equally important to heed the call for innovation in providing quality education. Regional cooperation could be the key to create world class institutions in order to compete effectively in knowledge economy
• Networking of Institutions of Higher Education between Public and Private Bangladesh Universities and Universities in the SEACO Region could help to achieve this objective
• The proposal to establish a SEACO University in Bangladesh in joint venture with Universities of Malaysia and Indonesia is an excellent initiative
• As the WIEF Foundation prepares to leave Dhaka, I would like to remind all of you that it is important to reach out, connect and continue networking.
• The discussions that have taken place have enriched us, let us not go back and place the folders, notes and presentations in a dusty corner of the office.
• I urge you to re-evaluate your current practices and fast track initiatives so that we have successful case studies that become the best practices that the world looks at emulating.
• Finally, I would like to specially acknowledge and thank:
i. All the distinguished speakers for taking some time from their busy schedules in order to be part of this Roundtable
ii. All the sponsors who have supported us in this Roundtable
iii. Mr. Salahuddin Kasem Khan, Chairman of the Bangladesh Organising Committee and members of his team, for the commitment and energy that all of them have shown us. Without your tireless efforts, dedication and passion that you have for the WIEF Foundation and all that it holds, this successful event would not have been possible.
iv. Bangladesh Federation of Women Entrepreneurs, Bangladesh Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry and High Commission of Malaysia in Bangladesh for their support.
• Last but not least, to all of you for joining us here in Radisson Hotel. For those who came from afar, I wish you a pleasant and safe journey home. With this, I won’t be bidding you goodbye or farewell, but more ‘till we meet again’.